The talent pool of up-and-coming MLBbros is as good as it’s been in quite some time, so choosing these five elite diamond miners wasn’t as easy.
James Wood, Washington Nationals, OF
The 6-foot-6 and 240-pound power hitting prospect ranks No.7 on MLB prospect rankings list. Wood enjoyed a very productive 2023 season with time split between Single-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg.
Wood showed he’s much more than a power hitter, as he batted a solid .270 with a .536 slugging percentage and .899 OPS. His 26 homers were expected, but his 28 doubles and eight triples, 91 RBI and 65 walks are indicative of his potential as a pure hitter. A guy with refined hit tools who can also power surge, like St. Louis Cardinals phenom Jordan Walker.
For his efforts the Nationals No.2 prospect was named the club’s Minor League Hitter of the Year.
Needs Improvement: Woods will need to cut down on the strikeouts (173). That’ll need to change prior to his expected call up sometime in 2024.
Termarr Johnson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2B
Johnson was pretty electric during the 2023 season. Starring for Single-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro, Johnson put together a quality season at the plate batting .244 with 18 homers and 59 RBI.
He also tallied 85 total hits and scored 83 runs. One of Johnson’s best traits is his plate discipline. He was able to draw 101 walks, which boosted his on-base percentage to .421. The Pirates have a budding difference-maker at second base.
Johnson’s expected arrival with the Pirates isn’t until 2025, but the anticipation and eagerness around the organization is growing daily. Big things are expected of the former No.4 overall pick. Johnson was named the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year.
During an in-season interview a reporter made reference to Johnson bulking up and getting stronger, the 19-year-old phenom responded with this.
“I’m glad you can see it. I don’t know how much it is, but it’s definitely a good bit.”
Needs Improvement: Much like Wood, Johnson must clean up the 120 strikeouts he posted.
Justin Crawford, Philadelphia Phillies, OF
Being the son of former MLB player Carl Crawford means the bloodline is there. And in 2023 Justin didn’t disappoint one bit. The budding Phillies outfield prospect showed why he was taken with the 17th pick of the 2022 MLB Draft.
The club’s No.3 ranked prospect and MLB’s 77th-ranked prospect batted a remarkable .344 in stops between Single-A Clearwater and High-A Jersey Shore. Crawford also drove in 64 runs and accumulated 47 stolen bases and 32 walks.
Not expected to be called until 2026, Crawford has all the tools to be get an earlier call up to the big leagues. When he was drafted Crawford told reporters this in his introductory interview: “I think I have a high IQ for the game. I take a lot of pride in that and I thank my dad a lot for that.”
Needs Improvement: His low homer numbers (3) are not a cause for concern because he swings a good bat and as he matures and gets stronger that number should increase.
Victor Scott II, St. Louis Cardinals, CF
Scott, the Cardinals No.4 ranked prospect behind the likes of Masyn Winn, Tink Hence and Chase Davis, could be the game’s next great defensive centerfielder.
Victor Scott II spent the 2023 season between High-A Peoria and Double-A Springfield, where he swung a great bat and played elite defense.
A .290 batting average to go along with 166 hits, including 20 doubles and ten triples, 94 stolen bases and 95 runs scored, are numbers that have the Cardinals organization excited.
Scott is expected up in 2025.
Needs Improvement: His power numbers and plate consistency will increase as he moves up the pipeline.
Cam Collier, Reds, 3B
The son of former MLB player Lou Collier looks the part, and the belief is he’ll only get better with time. “Bam Bam” recently turned 19-years-old and had a solid season at Single-A Daytona where he batted a respectable .246 with 68 RBI.
While the home run numbers (6) were low, Collier’s swing and power projects well to the next level as he matures and continues to grow into his imposing frame.
Needs Improvement: Another young hitter who must bring down strikeouts (106), but again that will come with experience and plate discipline.