Advertisement

Holliday, Yamamoto and Chourio are among the majors' most intriguing rookies in 2024

CHICAGO (AP) — Baltimore infielder Gunnar Henderson and Arizona outfielder Corbin Carroll starred on playoff teams last season, and they were rewarded with the rookie of the year awards.

One of these prospects might be able to follow in their footsteps. Here is a closer look at some of the majors’ most intriguing rookies this year:

Baltimore Orioles infielder Jackson Holliday

The 20-year-old son of former major league outfielder Matt Holliday batted .323 with 12 homers, 75 RBIs and 24 steals over four minor league stops last year, shooting through Baltimore's system after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 amateur draft. Where Holliday plays whenever he joins the loaded Orioles remains a question, but it sure looks as if he will fit right in at the plate. He'll start the season in the minors.

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The 25-year-old Yamamoto had a shaky Dodgers debut after agreeing to a record $325 million, 12-year contract over the winter. But he went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA last season for Orix in Japan’s Pacific League. His repertoire includes a fastball that runs into the mid-90s, a nasty splitter and a looping curveball. The Dodgers are expected to contend for the franchise's eighth World Series championship, so Yamamoto's transition to the majors will be closely watched this summer.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio

The 20-year-old Chourio finalized an $82 million, eight-year deal with Milwaukee — before his big league debut. It's the most money guaranteed to a player with no major league experience, and there is a lot to like about the Venezuela native. He batted .282 with 22 homers, 91 RBIs and 44 steals in 128 combined games with Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville last year.

Texas Rangers outfielder Wyatt Langford

The 22-year-old Langford made the reigning World Series champions out of spring training after he was the No. 4 overall pick in last year's amateur draft out of the University of Florida. He rocketed through Texas' minor league system last summer, batting .360 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs in 44 games over four stops. He had more walks (36) than strikeouts (34), and also swiped 12 bags in 15 attempts.

Detroit Tigers infielder Colt Keith

Like Chourio, Keith got paid before his major league debut, agreeing to a six-year contract in January that guarantees the prospect $28,642,500. The 22-year-old Keith was a fifth-round pick in the 2020 amateur draft. He played for Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo last season, hitting .306 with 27 homers and 101 RBIs in 126 games.

Los Angeles Angels infielder Nolan Schanuel

Schanuel was the first player from last year's draft to make it to the majors, making his debut on Aug. 18. The first baseman hit .275 with a .402 on-base percentage in 29 games. He was the 2023 Conference USA Player of the Year at Florida Atlantic University, batting .447 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs in his last season with the Owls.

Tampa Bay Rays infielder Junior Caminero

Caminero is coming off a breakout 2023 season, blasting 31 homers and driving in 94 runs in the minors. The 20-year-old slugger made his big league debut in September, and then appeared in two playoffs games with Tampa Bay. He is going to begin this year at Triple-A Durham after he skipped over that level last year, but he looks as if he could be a middle-of-order hitter for the Rays for a long time.

Washington Nationals outfielder James Wood

Wood was acquired by Washington when it traded Juan Soto to San Diego in August 2022. The 6-foot-6 slugger went deep in the Nationals' first two spring training games this year. Wood, a second-round selection in the 2021 amateur draft, batted .262 with 26 homers and 91 RBIs in 129 games over two minor league stops in 2023, finishing the season with Double-A Harrisburg.

San Diego Padres outfielder Jackson Merrill

The 20-year-old Merrill was a shortstop when he was selected by San Diego with the No. 27 pick in the 2021 amateur draft, but he made his big league debut in center field when the Padres opened this season against the Dodgers in South Korea. The lefty-swinging Baltimore native hit .277 with 15 homers and 64 RBIs in 114 games in the minors last year.

Chicago Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga

Nicknamed “The Throwing Philosopher,” Imanaga went 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 22 starts last season with Yokohama in Japan’s Central League, finishing with 174 strikeouts and 24 walks in 148 innings. He has a unique four-seam fastball with an unusual amount of vertical movement, along with a splitter and a slider. He finalized a $53 million, four-year contract with Chicago in January.

San Francisco Giants left-hander Kyle Harrison

The 22-year-old Harrison broke into the majors last season, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in seven starts. The San Jose, California, native was a third-round selection in the 2020 amateur draft out of high school. He is 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 69 minor league starts, striking out 452 batters in 279 1/3 innings.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb