Major league rookies are not necessarily younger today, but there’s more overall, and that’s helping for the phenoms to break through basically from the start.

Since 2000, the largest rookie crops were featured in 2021 (483) and 2022 (454), up from as few as 328 in 2001. While the number stepped back to 402 last season, Gunnar Henderson and Corbin Carroll earned the AL and NL Rookie of the Year, respectively, meaning those awards have gone to players aged 22 or younger on opening day in back-to-back years (Julio Rodriguez and Michael Harris II in 2022) for the first time since 2012 and ’13.

Getting top prospects to the major league level faster coincides with the large financial investments in them. Plus, a measure in the 2022 collective bargaining agreement has eased some manipulating of player service time by organizations.

Many of this year’s top MLB rookies will be 22 or younger on opening day, with the haul being position player-centric and featuring the sweet swings of the Jackson 3 – Jackson Holliday, Jackson Chourio and Jackson Merrill – as well as Evan Carter, Wyatt Langford and others.

Graphic by Robbie Dunne. Research by Stats Perform’s Jake Coyne.

While the MLB rookie rankings could go on and on, here are 10 of the most prominent to know in 2024 (age listed for opening day):

Jackson Holliday, Baltimore Orioles

Position: SS/2B; Bats/Throws: L/R; Age: 20; Highest 2023 Level: Triple-A

Notable: Generally regarded as baseball’s No. 1 minor league prospect, Holliday was in big league camp for much of spring training, but he’ll open the season in Triple-A to gain more reps against left-handed pitchers and continue with a planned shift to second base due to Henderson already handling shortstop on the Orioles’ rising roster. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2022 draft and son of seven-time MLB All-Star Matt Holliday handled expectations last year while producing a .323/442/.499 slash line and being named MLB Pipeline’s prospect hitter of the year.

Jackson Chourio, Milwaukee Brewers

Position: CF; Bats/Throws: R/R; Age: 20; Highest 2023 Level: Triple-A

Notable: In December, Chourio received the largest contract extension ever for a minor leaguer without MLB service time (guaranteed eight years, $82 million). Now the No. 2 prospect in the MLB Pipeline top 100 rankings is scheduled to become the youngest Brewer to make his big league debut on opening day in 50 years (Robin Yount in 1974). Chourio’s combination of power and speed suggest 30-30 potential. While his .347 on-base percentage in over 1,200 minor-league plate appearances was solid, he’s played only six games above Double-A, so there could be a learning curve against MLB pitching.

Evan Carter, Texas Rangers

Position: OF; Bats/Throws: L/R; Age: 21; Highest 2023 Level: MLB

Notable: Carter finished well above the league average in discipline+ (123), BIP+ (157) and raw value+ (131) over 75 plate appearances during a September call-up. If you missed it, there wasn’t any overlooking him in the postseason when he helped Texas to its first World Series title. Among rookies in the wild-card playoff era (since 1995), Carter’s 18 hits tied for the seventh most and his 10 walks matched the most overall. He’s eligible for 2024 AL Rookie of the Year honors and will give chase with a versatile style, including strong outfield defense (center field is his natural position) and speed (29 stolen bases across all levels last year) to go along with command of the strike zone.

Wyatt Langford, Texas Rangers

Position: DH/LF; Bats/Throws: R/R; Age: 22; Highest 2023 Level: Triple-A

Notable: Carter’s Rangers teammate Langford is even more heralded – the 2023 NCAA Division I leader in extra base hits (52) for the national runner-up Florida Gators, and the fourth pick of the draft’s first round. Langford had a .480 on-base percentage over 200 plate appearances in the minors. His advanced bat speed translates against any fastball: In mashing his way to the big league roster, he became the sixth player aged 22 or younger to hit at least six spring-training homers since 2006, according to Fangraphs (the list includes Freddie Freeman and Mike Trout).

Kyle Harrison, San Francisco Giants

Position: LHP; Age: 22; Highest 2023 Level: MLB

Notable: Harrison’s 1.15 WHIP in seven late-season starts with the Giants exceeded his 1.52 mark over 65.2 innings in Triple-A. The improved control was encouraging because the lefty is already set up to miss bats with a low arm slot that can be deceptive to batters and a fastball that reaches 97 mph. He struck out 452 batters in 279.1 innings in the minors, so his whiff+ of 109 in the small MLB sample should only rise this season. Also of note, the Giants pushed him for more innings per outing than the organization did at the minor league level.


Colt Keith, Detroit Tigers

Position: 2B/3B; Bats/Throws: L/R; Age: 22; Highest 2023 Level: Triple-A

Notable: Like Chourio, Keith signed a contract extension (guaranteed six years, $28.6 million) before the MLB level. Keith was healthier last year than in the prior two seasons, and had a breakout with 68 extra-base hits split (yes, 34 each) across the Double-A and Triple-A levels (the total ranked No. 3 in the minors). At Double-A Erie, he had a six-hit cycle with two home runs – a feat never accomplished by a major leaguer. The Tigers eye him more as a second baseman than a third baseman.

Jackson Merrill, San Diego Padres

Position: CF/SS; Bats/Throws: L/R; Age: 20; Highest 2023 Level: Double-A

Notable: Merrill had reached only Double-A prior to this season and played the outfield just five times in the minors, but the natural shortstop won San Diego’s starting center field job before the team’s two-game Seoul Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 6-foot-3 Merrill narrowly missed his first MLB home run in the second game, but he’s more of an athletic spray hitter who will hit for doubles.

Junior Caminero, Tampa Bay Rays

Position: 3B/SS; Bats/Throws: R/R; Age: 20; Highest 2023 Level: MLB

Notable: A 2019 international signee with Cleveland, Caminero gets the most out of his 6-foot-1, 157-pound frame. In his age-19 season last year, he was the youngest and just one two players under 23 among the 14 minor leaguers with 30 or more homers. He earned a late-season call-up to the Rays to basically be a bat off the bench in the postseason. With maturation, his exit velocity and opposite-field power should translate to the majors.


Nolan Schanuel, Los Angeles Angels

Position: 1B; Bats/Throws: L/R; Age: 22; Highest 2023 Level: MLB

Notable: The 11th pick in last year’s draft, Schanuel played in only 22 minor league games before securing a mid-August call-up. He rewarded the Angels’ confidence in him by reaching base safely in all of his 29 games, tying for the third-longest streak to open an MLB career (and continuing into the 2024 season). He’s not a typical power-hitting first baseman, as evidenced by his two homers over the 51 games (one at Double-A and one with the Angels) and a 62 BIP+ at the big-league level. But his NCAA-leading .615 on-base percentage at Florida Atlantic last year foreshadowed a lot. He posted an above-average 114 raw value+ (RV+) in his 131 plate appearances in the majors.

Austin Wells, New York Yankees

Position: C; Bats/Throws: L/R; Age: 24; Highest 2023 Level: MLB

Notable: It’s easy to like a power-hitting catcher from the left side, and Yankees fans gravitated to Wells during his September call-up last year. He hit at least 16 home runs in each of his three minor league seasons, adding four more with a 122 BIP+ over 71 plate appearances in the initial stint as a Bronx Bomber. He must improve defensively after allowing 118 steals at an 87% success rate last year, according to At least he takes back some of the bases – incredibly, he’s 39 for 40 on career steal attempts.

Michael Busch, Chicago Cubs (3B/DH – 26 – MLB)
Colton Cowser, Baltimore Orioles (OF – 24 – MLB)
Pete Crow-Armstrong, Chicago Cubs (CF – 21 – MLB)
Jordan Lawlar, Arizona Diamondbacks (SS – 21 – MLB)
Marco Luciano, San Francisco Giants (SS – 22 – MLB)
Kyle Manzardo, Cleveland Guardians (1B – 23 – Triple-A)
Parker Meadows, Detroit Tigers (CF – 24 – MLB)
Ceddane Rafaela, Boston Red Sox (CF/SS – 23 – MLB)
Gavin Stone, Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP – 25 – MLB)
Masyn Winn, St. Louis Cardinals (SS – 22 – MLB)

Key offseason international signings of first-year MLB players (with native country):

Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs (LHP – 30 – Japan)
Jung Hoo Lee, San Francisco Giants (CF – 25 – South Korea)
Yuki Matsui, San Diego Padres (RHP – 28 – Japan)
Yariel Rodriguez, Toronto Blue Jays (RHP – 27 – Cuba)
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP – 25 – Japan)

Jasson Dominguez, New York Yankees (OF – 21 – MLB; recovering from Tommy John surgery)
Noelvi Marte, Cincinnati Reds (3B – 22 – MLB; serving 80-game league suspension)
Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP – 21 – Double-A)
Ricky Tiedemann, Toronto Blue Jays (LHP – 21 – Triple-A)
James Wood, Washington Nationals (OF – 21 – Double-A)

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