20 Breakout MLB Pitching Prospects For 2024 (2024)

With the rest of the minors getting underway today, let’s examine some potential breakout pitching prospects. This is the second consecutive year I’m conducting this exercise. So before we move forward, let’s look at results from 2023.

Among the 20 pitchers picked in 2023, I consider six true breakouts. Seven more can be considered even breaks. They didn’t break out and they weren’t bad, either. Time will tell whether these picks age for better or worse, but for 2023 purposes they’re a push.

I consider another seven to be busts or underperformers. Ultimately, that puts me at a slight loss at the end of the year with a 30% hit rate, 35% push and a 35% loss. In real dollars, this would be a net positive as my evens outweigh my losses, but for our purposes I lost more than I hit.

Looking at the group overall I likely overvalued stuff over execution and ended up with an uneven group. The overall ERA for my 20 breakout picks was 4.14, a 1.33 WHIP, with a 28.5% strikeout rate and a 11.3% walk rate. Not a bad overall showing, but the lack of command of the group is evident.

The bright spots were four Dodgers pitchers: Emmet Sheehan, River Ryan, Ronan Kopp and Justin Wrobleski. Top 100 Prospects Mason Miller and Robert Gasser were good ones, too. All choices I’ll look to replicate and hopefully grow in the 2024 edition.

Luis Perales, Dahian Santos and Richard Fitts were all pushes that teetered on the breakout category. However, none of them are mentioned in the Top 100 conversation. so I’ll categorize them as strong pushes.

From a process perspective we’ll balance pitch-level data, performance with scouting feedback and in-person evaluation to hopefully further refine our performance for next year. Below are 20 breakout pitching prospects for 2024.

2024 Breakout Pitching Prospects

Payton Martin, RHP, Dodgers: One of the Dodgers arms I’m most excited about heading into the season has an air of mystery around him. Los Angeles landed the converted prep shortstop in the 17th round in 2022. He showed well in his debut before getting shut down in July and moved to the development list. Martin doesn’t have an assignment to begin 2024, so there’s a chance news breaks of an injury after publishing this. Regardless, Martin is an exciting arm under the frequently successful Dodgers tutelage. Last season, Martin’s fastball sat 94-96 mph with 17 inches of ride on average and 7-8 inches of horizontal break from a 5-foot-8 release height. He mixes a mid-to-high-80s cut-slider and a firm high-80s changeup. It’s a good pitch mix and Martin showed the ability to execute in his professional debut. There’s some uncertainty around when Martin will pitch in 2024, but little question around his ability or stuff.

Jackson Ferris, LHP, Dodgers: I don’t believe the Cubs regret trading for Michael Busch. But any time the Dodgers are interested in another team’s pitching prospect, it’s almost always a sure bet for a breakout. Ferris is already a known commodity dating back to his days as a starter at IMG Academy (FL). Ferris mixes four pitches highlighted by his low-to-mid-90s fastball and sweepy slider. His curveball has two-plane break and a distinctively different look from his slider. He also mixes a changeup with some tumble and fade. Josh Norris noted the cleaned up operation in his 70 Backfield Standouts article and it’s a noticeable cleanup in the video he posted. Ferris will begin 2024 with High-A Great Lakes.

Patrick Copen, RHP, Dodgers: Marshall is known for producing some high-end football talents, but Copen looks like he could be another day two Dodgers sleeper from the college ranks. Copen debuted post draft making three total appearances between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. Copen sat mid 90s with a pair of fastball shapes in four-seam and two-seam variations. His primary secondary is hard cut-slider in the high 80s to low 90s, with a mid-80s power curveball. Copen will return to Low-A Rancho to begin 2024, but could be another Dodgers name to keep an eye on this summer.

Landen Maroudis, RHP, Blue Jays: The Cavalry Christian product Maroudis was featured in my backfield notes as well as my 2024 breakout team, so I may as well complete the treble with his inclusion here. Maroudis showed added velocity sitting 93-96 mph and mixing a pair of breaking ball shapes in a mid-80s slider and a low-80s curveball. He’ll begin the season with Low-A Dunedin, skipping the complex league for a full season level. Maroudis is a young projectable pitcher with a good mix of pitches and the ability to throw strikes with all of them. He’s a arrow up name this spring.

Blue Jays 4th Round pick Landen Maroudis shoved yesterday in the Low-A game. He allowed one hit and a HBP, struck out five over three innings. Fastball sat 93-95 mph T96 mph, mixed two different breaking balls, slider at 85-86 mph, curveball at 78-82 mph. #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/Aw3HoIAFH0

— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) March 24, 2024

Fernando Perez, RHP, Blue Jays: Perez burst onto the scene last season after he tossed seven innings in a combined no hitter against the FCL Phillies on Aug. 7. Perez showed improved velocity on his fastball this spring sitting 93-95 mph with plus ride. He mixed a mid-80s cutter, a low-80s changeup and a low-80s slider and attacked batters with different sequencing, landing everything in and around the zone. Perez is already physical at 6-foot-3 and broad and has the build and pitchability to project as a starting pitching prospect long term. He’ll join Maroudis and 2022 first-round pick Brandon Barriera in the Dunedin rotation.

Fernando Perez ranked No. 24 in the Blue Jays system in the offseason and could be a name jumping up the list this season. He mixed four pitches on Friday, fastball sat 93-95 mph w/ 18-19 IVB on average, a mid-80s cutter, a low-80s slider and a lower-80s changeup that generated… pic.twitter.com/zSoqmW6qHb

— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) April 1, 2024

Logan Evans, RHP, Mariners: No player has been discussed as much in the pages of Baseball America than Logan Evans of late. He’s been written about by Josh Norris, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Dylan White and myself in recent weeks. There’s good logic behind the excitement as well, as Evan has shown an unbelievable jump in stuff since his collegiate days at Pitt and earned a public vote of confidence from the Mariners with an assignment to Double-A Arkansas. Evans mixes a pair of fastball shapes at 94-98 mph with a easy plus slider, curveball and the makings of an average changeup. Evans with performance at Double-A could explode onto prospect rankings in 2024.

Another day … another article about @Mariners prospect Logan Evans

Mariners’ Logan Evans Showcases Electric Arsenal In Spring Camphttps://t.co/KFdvcHNSYl pic.twitter.com/cUXhpNTONm

— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 4, 2024

Brody Hopkins, RHP, Mariners: While systemate Logan Evans stole the headlines, Hopkins is a name to keep an eye on in 2024. He was a former two-way player at Winthrop and College of Charleston. An outlier athlete, Hopkins has big stuff and starting experience but struggled with command as a collegiate. Hopkins mixes a mid-90s fastball with good shape from a low slot with a sweeper and a changeup. Hopkins will begin the season with Low-A Modesto where he should get an opportunity to continue as a starter. His fastball and slider combination give him a reliever floor.

Caden Dana, RHP, Angels: Several of the names listed here were mentioned in Josh Norris’ spring training backfield opus covering 70 different names to know from spring training action. Dana is a name that’s piqued my interest dating back to his draft spring as a New Jersey prep prospect. He’s got a big league frame with easy and simple mechanics. Dana’s fastball has ticked up and now sits mid 90s with good shape, he mixes a trio of secondaries in a slider, curveball and changeup and shows the ability to sequence and command the zone. Dana has real starting pitching potential and could stake his claim as the Angels top prospect by mid-summer.

Jaden Hamm, RHP, Tigers: Another name that’s gotten significant recognition from our staff over the last week is the Tigers’ fifth-round pick out of Middle Tennessee State. One of the more ballyhooed names among scouts in the Clearwater pod this spring, Hamm showed off a nasty cut-ride fastball with on average 20 inches of induced vertical break at 92-94 mph touching 96 mph. He mixes a downer curveball, a changeup and a newly developed slider giving him a variety of secondaries off his fastball. Hamm will begin the season with High-A West Michigan.

Blake Wolters, RHP, Royals: The Royals may have gotten a steal in Wolters, as they landed the high-powered righthander in the second round of last year’s draft out of the Illinois prep ranks. Wolters mixes a mid-90s fastball with a nasty slider and has shown a changeup and curveball. He’ll begin the season with Low-A Columbia and has a chance to jump up lists with in game performance that matches his big stuff. Wolters has a high end starter’s ceiling if he can show refinement and consistent execution in 2024.

Mason Barnett, RHP, Royals: Barnett first popped on the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2021 entering his draft year. He showed a cut-ride four-seam fastball with above-average induced vertical break and three secondaries. He still fits that description three years later, but everything has ticked up. Barnett sat 94-95 mph on his cut-ride heater in 2023 mixing a mid-80s sweeper with 11-12 inches of horizontal break on average and nearly 3,000 rpm of raw spin. Barnett mixed in a two-plane curveball with high spin rates and a 25%+ in-zone miss rate. He shows the ability to land a changeup as well, giving him a deep arsenal to work with. After having success over seven starts with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Barnett will return to the level to begin the season as he looks to pitch his way onto the Royals big league roster by the end of the season.

Kyle Carr, LHP, Yankees: Prior to ever setting foot on a mound in an official game, Carr has those who follow Yankees prospects buzzing. He ranked Top 10 in the organization heading into the season and was impressive for scouts while our team was in attendance this spring during backfield play. Carr has a outlier feel for spin with a signature sweeper that gets ride and heavy horizontal break with high spin rates. His fastball is a low-90s cut-ride four-seam that projects to add more velocity in the coming years. Carr will begin his professional career with High-A Hudson Valley this spring.

Kyle Carr impressed on Tuesday against the Blue Jays High-A team. Carr mixed a cut-ride FF at 91-94 mph w/ a nasty sweeper at 81-82 with ride and horz break, showed a changeup too. 2023 3rd rounder from Palomar JC (CA). The Yankees No. 10 Prospect is a potential breakout in 2024.… pic.twitter.com/QzZ54yi01M

— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) March 21, 2024

Josh Knoth, RHP, Brewers: Knoth ranked 12th in the loaded Brewers Top 30 heading into 2024 and could be name that climbs that list as well as others with a strong performance in 2024. An undersized righthander from the New York prep ranks, Knoth showed huge stuff pre-draft touching 98 mph on his fastball mixing in a pair of high-spin breaking balls. His slider sits in the mid-80s, while his curveball sits in the low-80s with power. Knoth will flash a changeup as well but it’s a clear fourth pitch behind his pair of breaking balls. Knoth will begin the season with Low-A Carolina where he will be one of the pitching stars on an exciting young Mudcats club.

Khristian Curtis, RHP, Pirates: Our team got a pair of looks at Curtis the Pirates 12th-round pick out of Arizona State this spring. Like many scouts, we came away impressed by the quality of Curtis’ stuff. In the Spring Breakout, Curtis sat mid-90s on his fastball and was up to 97-98 mph at peak across the pair of outings. He mixed in a harder curveball, a cutter and changeup and kept hitters off balance. There’s still some things to clean up mechanically and his strike-throwing can improve, but Curtis is a day three draft arm with increasing helium. The Pirates currently have a loaded group of young pitching prospects with upside and Curtis is one of the least-heralded names among that group. He will begin the season with Low-A Bradenton, where his publicly available Statcast data is sure to win some fans.

Khristian Curtis worked one inning on Thursday FB up to 97 mph mixed slider, CB, CHG and CT. Curtis is a 2023 12th round pick out of Arizona State. #Pirates pic.twitter.com/iVeCEbkzP1

— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) March 17, 2024

David Matoma, RHP, Pirates: One of the best surprises of spring training is seeing a talented young pitcher with high-octane stuff. Matoma was one such look for our team on the backfields early in minor league spring training. He mixes a mid-90s fastball with ride and run with a trio of secondaries. Matoma mixes a mid-to-upper-80s cutter, a mid-80s changeup and a low-80s curveball and shows the ability to land all of his secondaries for strikes. He’ll be a slow burn and will begin the season in extended spring training before making his official stateside debut in the Florida Complex League.

Signed in January of 2023 out of Uganda 18 year old David Matoma had a loud appearance at Pirate City today. He sat 95-96 mph T97 mph w/ 17-19 inches of IVB, mixed harder gyro slider at 85-88 mph and a changeup, thought I saw a gyro CB at 82-83 as well. Just turned 18 in… pic.twitter.com/O5XigmmiTQ

— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) March 18, 2024

Brandon Sproat, RHP, Mets: After the Mets struck gold with a former Florida reliever in Christian Scott, the team went back to the well in 2023 to draft Brandon Sproat. It was the third time Sproat had been drafted and the second consecutive year he was drafted by the Mets. Unlike Scott, Sproat has two years of starting experience for the Gators and flashes some nasty stuff. Sproat sits mid 90s on his four-seam fastball, mixing in a high-80s cut-slider, with a filthy changeup with serious tumble and heavy armside run, as well as low-80s curveball. The mix on paper is good and Sproat was fairly successful as a starter for two seasons in the SEC. If Sproat shows more refined command and execution he could jump onto the back end of the Top 100 list by mid-season. Sproat will begin the season with High-A Brooklyn.

George Klassen, RHP, Phillies: The Phillies have targeted college pitchers with loud stuff and track records of murky strike-throwing. George Klassen looks to be the latest Phillies high-octane pitching prospect with plus stuff and flashes of improved execution. His fastball sat 98-99 mph during outings this spring mixing a plus slider and he showed an easy operation. Klassen has always had the stuff to profile as a big league pitcher in some role or another, but the prospects of him having a chance to start make him a high upside pick to breakout in 2024. Klassen will begin the season with Low-A Clearwater.

Brett Wichrowski, RHP, Brewers: When our team saw Wichrowski pitching for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League prior to the 2023 draft, he was an interesting day three type with a low righthanded arm slot that created deception on his sweeper slider and low-90s fastball. When our team laid eyes on Wichrowski this spring his stuff had taken a considerable jump in terms of velocity and more defined movement. His sweeper looks even more dynamic than it did at Bryant or on the Cape and his fastball now sits mid-to-high-90s with late downshift to the armside. Wichrowski packs plenty of relief risk but he is the right organization for high octane pitchers with relief risk that have a chance to develop into a starter. Wichrowski will begin his season with High-A Wisconsin.

Thomas White, LHP, Marlins: One of the more famous New England-bred pitching prospects in recent memory, White has flashed velocity and unique fastball traits dating back to his underclass days in high school. While some of his shine washed away with an inconsistent final season with Phillips Academy (MA), the Marlins snatched him up in the second round of last year’s draft and paired him with Noble Meyer for a dynamic duo of prep arms. White was a standout in the Marlins Spring Breakout game showing the ability to land his mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup. White still has to prove that he has enough deception to be effective as a starter, but there are plenty of starter’s traits and some high-end prep pedigree.

David Sandlin, RHP, Red Sox: Acquiring the underrated righthander was a quiet victory for Craig Breslow’s Red Sox regime. An organization light on pitching prospects with real upside potential, Sandlin represented a departure on a smaller scale from the aversion to acquiring pitching at the minor league level. Sandlin sits mid 90s with a fastball that features above-average ride and run, pairing it with a mid-80s slider with sweep, a firm split-change and low-80s two-plane breaking curveball. Sandlin misses bats with all of his pitches, though none are plus swing and miss offerings, and showed above-average command of his fastball, slider and changeup trio in 2023. He will begin 2024 with High-A Greenville.

20 Breakout MLB Pitching Prospects For 2024 (2024)


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