MLB prospects to watch in 2024: Jackson Holliday, Wyatt Langford lead potential Rookie of the Year fields

The next wave of MLB stars is just around the corner.

Thanks in large part to MLB’s prospect promotion incentives, teams are calling up prospects earlier and earlier, leading to more young talent joining the big-league ranks than ever before.

The 2024 season figures to be loaded with exciting rookies. Five-tool stars like Jackson Holliday and Jackson Chourio, sluggers like Wyatt Langford and Junior Caminero and fire-ballers like Paul Skenes and Kyle Harrison all figure to be in the majors either when the season begins or at some point midway through the season.

MORE: SN’s model projection for the 2024 season

Before those prospects get the call, Sporting News will rank the top 25 that should be in the middle of the two Rookie of the Year races. These are overall rankings of prospects, though we are excluding those who either competed in international professional leagues like the NPB or KBO or are not expected to have a major impact in the 2024 season.

We’re comparing those players with their bet365 Rookie of the Year odds heading into the 2024 season. These are not necessarily the most likely players to win Rookie of the Year, but they are who we believe are the best prospects in the sport that will begin their MLB careers this season.

Here’s a look at the top prospects in the 2024 season.

MLB prospects to watch in 2024

1. Jackson Holliday, 2B, Orioles

The expectations were already high for Holliday when the son of All-Star Matt Holliday was drafted first overall in 2022. What Jackson has done so far is get off to one of the most impressive starts to a pro career in recent memory. He’s posted a .939 OPS in 120 minor-league games with 13 homers, 28 steals, a walk rate of 18.8 percent and a strikeout rate of 19.4 percent. Despite having turned 20 in December, Holliday is viewed by some as one of the safest prospects in baseball due to his discerning eye and his ability to consistently drive the ball with authority. He’s also a plus runner with the ability to play above-average defense at either middle infield spot. Holliday will surprisingly begin 2024 in the minors, but it won’t be long until he reaches the majors, at which point he’s got the chance to immediately be a star. 

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +450

2. Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers

Chourio displayed impressive raw tools in 2022, but 2023 was Courio’s breakout, during which he bashed 22 homers and stole 43 bases as a 19-year-old at Double-A, while striking out only in 18.4 percent of his plate appearances and posting an .803 OPS. The Brewers inked him to an eight-year, $82 million contract before the season, and they’re prepared for the 20-year-old to debut in the majors on Opening Day. He’s a true five-tool talent with impressive defense, explosive power and blazing speed, all while showing off a polished approach, particularly for someone so young. Chourio appears bound for stardom in the majors.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +650

3. Wyatt Langford, OF, Rangers

Before the end of the college season, Langford made a case to be considered the top prospect in the 2023 class. Upon arriving in the pros, he has propelled himself to being the most impressive player from that group. He blazed through the minors, posting a 1.157 OPS with 10 homers in 44 games as he rose to reach Triple-A. All he’s done in spring training is bash six homers with a 1.137 OPS in 21 games and earn a spot on the big-league roster. Langford has explosive power and he shows impressive discipline at the plate. He’s also a quick runner who puts his speed to use on the bases. He’s likely never going to be much more than a slightly below-average defender in a corner outfield spot, but with his bat, Langford has all the makings of a star.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +250

4. Junior Caminero, 3B, Rays

The Rays moved aggressively with the 20-year-old Caminero in 2023, advancing him from High-A at the start of the year to the majors before the end of the season. He’s ticketed for the minors to start the season, but don’t be surprised if he’s back in the big leagues before long. Caminero’s power is near the top of the scales. For a player of his age, he shows impressive plate discipline and strike-zone awareness, which gives scouts confidence he’ll post high averages and on-base percentages in the majors. He’s a prototypical middle-of-the-order slugger whose defense at third should be good enough for him to stay at the hot corner long-term.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +1200

5. Paul Skenes, SP, Pirates

After Holliday, Skenes has to rank at the top of the list of the most surprising players to be sent to the minors. Some speculated his triple-digit fastball and wipeout slider last year at LSU was already capable of playing in the majors. He commands that pairing with a solid changeup and standout control, particularly for someone with his arsenal. It won’t be long until the Pirates realize how much he can help at the big-league level, and when he gets to the majors, it won’t be surprising to see him reach that ace potential early in his career.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +1800

6. Dylan Crews, OF, Nationals

There is probably no player in the minors with a higher floor than Crews. Like Skenes, many thought he was already big-league ready when he played at LSU. That perception has not changed at all since arriving in the pros. Crews has displayed impressive plate discipline in the minors while still producing more than enough pop to profile as a slugging, top-of-the-order bat. His speed plays better in the field than on the bases, and it’s easy to see him staying in center field as an above-average defender for his career. Crews will start the season in Double-A, but he has a clear path to the majors if he can produce at a high level. 

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +2500

7. Colson Montgomery, SS, White Sox

The White Sox watched Tim Anderson walk in free agency, meaning the future at shortstop officially belongs to Montgomery. The 22-year-old shortstop battled injuries over the past two seasons, but when healthy, he drew Corey Seager comparisons for his size (6-3, 225 pounds) and his smooth left-handed swing at short. He has impressive raw power and he controls the strike zone well, leading to consistent double-digit walk rates. His lack of range has led some to speculate he might eventually need to shift to third, but many envisioned the same thing for Seager, and he’s still playing short. Montgomery is a steady defender at short and if the White Sox allow him to stay there, he profiles as a bat-first shortstop with a sound-enough glove to profile as an average to slightly above-average defender.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +2000

8. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Diamondbacks

There’s not much Lawlar can’t do on the field. He is a slick defender at shortstop with a strong enough arm to handle just about any throw in the hole. But he’s more than just a steady glove at short. Lawlar is a blazer on the bases, having swiped 37 bases between Double-A, Triple-A and the majors in 2023. He adds above-average power and a solid hit tool that has led him to post impressive walk rates, though he also has some issues with strikeouts. Lawlar already reached the majors as a 21-year-old in 2023, and it might not be long until he forces his way back up to the big leagues in 2024.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +1600

9. James Wood, OF, Nationals

If Crews is the high floor among Nationals’ outfield prospects, Wood is the high ceiling. Wood is massive at 6-6, 234 pounds, and in that size comes prodigious power that saw him crank 18 homers in 87 Double-A games last year. He added 10 stolen bases to his line as well, flashing above-average speed. That speed, combined with his arm strength, make him a standout defender in the outfield. With Wood’s immense size, he has a large strike zone and he at times struggles with chasing pitches out of the zone. Wood might not take too long to reach the big leagues, and when he does, he’ll immediately become among the most exciting players in the game. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, the sky is the limit for his potential.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +3300

10. Colt Keith, 2B, Tigers

Simply put, Keith just rakes. The 21-year-old infielder raced from Double-A at the beginning of the year to Triple-A by the end of it, mashing 27 homers in 126 games between the two levels while posting an eye-popping .932 OPS. As if all that wasn’t enough, he posted a double-digit walk rate and fanned only a 21 percent clip. Keith’s defense required him to move from third to second, but regardless of his defensive home, it’s clear he’s going to mash in the majors. The Tigers signed him to a six-year, $28.6 million contract in the offseason, indicating they’re ready for him to begin his big-league career. 

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +1200

11. Jackson Merrill, OF, Padres

Merrill has already made his MLB debut in 2024, heading to Seoul to start in center field for the Padres. He came up through the minors largely as a shortstop, but San Diego moved him to the outfield, where his defensive issues can be masked a bit more. While Merrill’s defense likely won’t earn him any Gold Gloves, he’s among the best contact hitters in the minors and has begun to show above-average power to add to his already sound approach. He’s not going to be a burner on the bases, but with his on-base abilities and thump, he’s got plenty of offensive upside to provide the Padres.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +1600

12. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox

Mayer vaulted up draft boards in 2021, ultimately landing fourth overall to the Red Sox. Since then, he’s done little to prove Boston wrong. He got off to an impressive start in 2023, but battled a shoulder injury that appeared to hamper his production down the stretch, leading to a .739 OPS during the campaign. When healthy, Mayer looks the part of a future star shortstop with plus power and a polished approach. He’s also gone through periods where scouts question whether he has what it takes to put it all together. He’ll likely get a chance in the majors at some point in 2024 if he can get back to his pre-injury self.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +10000

13. Noelvi Marte, 3B, Reds

If it weren’t for a PED suspension, Marte might be among the favorites for NL Rookie of the Year. He hit .316 with three homers in 35 games at the MLB level as a 21-year-old, and appeared lined up to start at third base to begin the 2024 season for the Reds. As it is, he’ll have to wait until 81 games into the season. Marte has immense raw power, and is a solid defender at third base after moving off shortstop. He’s got a bright future at third with the profile of a middle-of-the-order bat who is savvy enough to swipe a handful of bases during the season.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: N/A

14. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Cubs

Fans are more likely to win a futures bet on Crow-Armstrong winning a Gold Glove than Silver Slugger. He might be the best defensive player in the minors with a stellar glove and strong arm that has led scouts to consider him the best defensive center field prospect. Crow-Armstrong should be an offensive contributor as well, as he launched 20 homers and stole 37 bases with a .283 average in 2023. He’s got at least average power and blazing speed, and with his outstanding defense, he’ll be given ample opportunities to become an average to above-average offensive contributor in the majors.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +1600

15. Kyle Harrison, SP, Giants

Harrison is going to get his chance to start in 2024, which already helps him in the Rookie of the Year odds, though his command could hold him back. His control can waver at times during starts, leading to higher walk rates. But his blazing fastball, which has excellent movement, is an elite pitch, and his slider and changeup are widely viewed as above-average pitches. Harrison will have some outings where he fans 15 over seven innings and others where he walks six over three innings. His control will determine whether he’s a top-of-the-rotation starter or an ace closer.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +2500

16. Brooks Lee, SS, Twins

Royce Lewis was the Twins’ breakout prospect in 2023. Lee might be the next. The No. 8 overall pick in 2022 has risen quickly through the minors thanks in large part to his advanced approach and his ever-improving power. He’s not likely to be much more than a 20-homer slugger in the majors, but his hit tool that saw him strike out in under 17 percent of his plate appearances last year could see him become a top-of-the-order fixture. He plays solid defense at short, though between Lewis and Carlos Correa, his best path to playing time is likely second base.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +3300

17. Masyn Winn, SS, Cardinals

Before the 2023 season, Winn was viewed largely as a future Gold Glove shortstop with the strongest arm in the minors. He’s now added some offensive upside as he not only stole 17 bases with top-tier speed, but he blistered a career-best 18 homers in 105 games. Scouts are undecided on whether his power will translate to the majors, but the improved power stroke gives him a higher ceiling than previously thought. His glove already makes him a quality MLB starter. Even average power with his elite speed and advanced hit tool would make him a star shortstop.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +2800

18. Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles

Mayo will head into the 2024 season with the same problem as Holliday: Too many talented, young infielders and too few spots to play all of them. On any other team, Mayo would likely be the starting third baseman heading into the season. His raw power can rival any player in the minors, as evidenced by 29 homers in 140 games as a 21-year-old. Though his swing concerned scouts early, he’s managed to make it work while maintaining a respectable strikeout rate. His powerful arm is another top-tier tool that can often help him overcome his defensive shortcomings at the hot corner. He’s got all the makings of a long-term third baseman with middle-of-the-order upside.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +6600

19. Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians

The Guardians are desperate for hitters. DeLauter is about as good as it gets. In his first pro season after surgery delayed his debut, he showed tons of raw power and impressive command of the plate. Between his power and plate discipline, he’s got middle-of-the-order ability. If his above-average speed translates to the base-paths, he’s got 30-20 potential, if not more, while his defense will make him an above-average defender. 

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +5000

20. Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees

Dominguez might be the most hyped prospect to arrive in New York in a long time. His exciting debut, which featured four homers and a stolen base in just eight games, was cut short when he needed Tommy John surgery. He’ll likely not see the field until the summer, but his bat has already proven to be MLB-ready. He has among the most raw power in the minors and he takes plenty of walks, though he sometimes works himself behind in counts. Dominguez has middle-of-the-order upside with speed and solid defense, giving him an exciting future alongside Aaron Judge.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +3000

21. Ricky Tiedemann, SP, Blue Jays

Stuff has never been the question with Tiedemann. His arsenal, a three-pitch mix of a fastball, slider and changeup, has been enough for him to carve up batters throughout the pros since he arrived in the organization in 2021. In just 44 innings last year, he struck out 82 batters. Tiedemann has struggled with walks, which could lead to some early struggles as he figures out the major-league strike zone. 

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +6600

22. Jeferson Quero, C, Brewers

Quero is not going to be a fantasy baseball star. He’s a slick defensive catcher with a rocket arm that should help him consistently shut down the running game. His bat showed a bit of pop in 2023 as he launched 16 homers in 90 games with a .440 slugging percentage. That should be enough for him to maintain a role as a starter, especially considering his elite defensive skills.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: N/A

23. Marco Luciano, SS, Giants

Luciano was a hotly-anticipated prospect when he signed with the Giants. His professional career has been so-so, as he has struck out more than expected and his lack of speed will likely mean an eventual move off shortstop. However, Luciano possesses a ton of raw power and reached the majors at just 21 years old. His plate discipline is advanced for his age, giving more than enough reason to believe he can still reach more of his lofty upside as he continues to develop.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +5000

24. Cade Horton, SP, Cubs

Horton nearly pitched Ole Miss to a College World Series title in 2022. Following his first season in professional baseball, Horton’s stuff hasn’t lost a touch as he boasts advanced command with a plus fastball and wipeout slider. If he can refine his curveball and changeup, the chances he reaches the top of Chicago’s rotation in the future get even higher.

NL Rookie of the Year odds: +3300

25. Colton Cowser, OF, Orioles

Cowser’s MLB debut might not have gone as planned, but the production he showed at Triple-A in 2023 proves there’s upside in his bat. He posted a .937 OPS with 17 homers and nine stolen bases in only 87 games. Cowser does just about everything well, though he doesn’t possess any elite tools. But with quality center-field defense, power and some speed, that’s a valuable player for any franchise in the long-term.

AL Rookie of the Year odds: +2500

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