Younger Chourio among Minors’ top switch-hitters

12:30 AM UTC

In an era that places a premium on platoon advantages, switch-hitters can be the most versatile members of a lineup — even if they’ve become increasingly hard to find.

Over the past four seasons, the number of switch-hitting batters in the Majors has slowly ticked down from 10.7 percent in 2021 to 10.1 in ’22 to 9.7 in ’23 to 9.3 early in the ’24 season.

But fear not, because another crop of ambidextrous athletes is on the way.

Several intriguing prospects could soon be joining the ranks of Adley Rutschman, Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez. Last year, Elly De La Cruz burst onto the scene, and he’s already become one of the game’s most exciting players.

For this list, we’ve left off talented switch-hitting pitchers like Bubba Chandler and Charlee Soto — the former ended a two-way experiment a year ago — and former Top 100 prospect Brayan Rocchio misses the cut after graduating in April.

But without future ado, here are MLB Pipeline’s Top 11 switch-hitting prospects (and one bonus pick) currently in the Minor Leagues.

1. Brooks Lee, SS (MIN No. 2, MLB No. 16)Lee is expected to miss the first two months of the season because of a herniated disc in his back but remains the top switch-hitting prospect because of his advanced approach at the plate. Only two prospects (Jackson Holliday and Dylan Crews) have a better hit tool than the 23-year-old’s 65 grade, and he walks (72) a little less than he’s struck out (111) in two Minor League seasons. The 2022 first-rounder (eighth overall) was much stronger from the left side last season (.287./366/.494) than from the right side (.231/.266/.337), but was more balanced in ’22 (.853 OPS vs. RHP, .830 vs. LHP).

2. Jasson Domínguez, OF (NYY No. 1, MLB No. 32)Domínguez has lived up to the hype after signing with the Yankees for $5.1 million, although Tommy John surgery last September sidelined him until he began a rehab assignment Tuesday. The outfielder displays tremendous thump, with a burly 5-foot-9 frame and exceptional bat speed from both sides of the plate. In an eight-game Major League cameo last fall, he had a top-of-the-line hard-hit rate (56.5 percent). “The Martian” has the highest power potential of any prospect on this list, and to date, has been better from the left side.

3. Adael Amador, 2B/SS (COL No. 1, MLB No. 34)Amador is off to a slow start with Double-A Hartford but has retained his signature plate discipline. Across four Minor League seasons, he has a 14.5 percent walk rate and a 12.6 percent strikeout rate. The Venezuela native has shown little platoon split in the Minors but has hit slightly better for average against lefties (.283 vs. .277) and for power against righties (.437 vs. .416). And since he just turned 21 in April, it’s easy to project him filling out his 6-foot frame and growing into more power.

4. Edwin Arroyo, SS (CIN No. 3, MLB No. 55)Arroyo won’t play in 2024 after suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but he has plenty of time to reach his lofty ceiling after earning a promotion to Double-A last year mere days after his 20th birthday. While his line-drive approach has limited his power so far — the 2021 second-rounder has displayed it more so far against lefties (.225 vs. .164 ISO) — there’s remaining projection in his lanky frame. And with plus arm strength and glove tools to go with above-average speed, he has a relatively high floor.

5. Leodalis De Vries, SS (SD No. 4, MLB No. 82)Is this déjà vu all over again? The Padres signed the top international prospect and aggressively assigned him to Single-A Lake Elsinore to start his pro career. No, De Vries is unlikely to have the quick ascent that his potential future teammate Ethan Salas had last season, but he’s immensely talented. The shortstop has five-tool potential, with the discipline at a young age to tap into his big raw power. If he holds his own against much older competition, De Vries is likely to rocket up this list.

6. Roderick Arias, SS (NYY No. 4, MLB No. 89)Arias has a rare combination of surefire shortstop defense and above-average power that made him the top international prospect in 2022. The Dominican Republic native has long had strikeout issues (30.4 percent) — somewhat mitigated by impressive walk numbers (19.1 percent) — but his upside is too high to ignore. This could be a big season for him after numerous injuries limited him to 58 total games in his first two campaigns.

7. Jaison Chourio, OF (CLE No. 3, MLB No. 96)Jaison may not have the name recognition or all-around skill set of his brother, Jackson, who just graduated as MLB’s No. 2 overall prospect, but he’s quite advanced for an 18-year-old. Through parts of three professional seasons, he has more walks (109) than strikeouts (92). His swing is sound from both sides, even if he doesn’t yet have his brother’s impressive power. But as a solid-to-plus defender with speed, the Venezuela native still projects as an everyday regular — and his stock is rapidly rising.

8. Edgar Quero, C (CWS No. 4, MLB No. 97)Quero struggled last year as one of the youngest players in Double-A but is back on track in 2024 during his age-21 season with a Southern League-leading six home runs. After initially showing more offensive potential from the left side, he’s been more productive batting right-handed the past two seasons (.344/.450/.459 vs. .222/.338/.343). But the Cuba native shows strong discipline from both sides of the plate, which enables him to stay patient and use the entire field.

9. Starlyn Caba, SS (PHI No. 5)Caba is making a big impression after signing for $3 million as the No. 13 international prospect in 2023. We can’t read too much into Rookie league stats, but he’s posted outrageous discipline numbers with more than twice as many walks (35) than strikeouts (17). The Dominican Republic native makes strong contact from both sides of the plate and has the makings of an everyday shortstop, even if he never grows into much power. As an impressive athlete with plus speed and range, he has quite a high floor for an 18-year-old.

10. Thayron Liranzo, C/1B (LAD No. 9)Liranzo has displayed rare power for a catcher, which allowed him to lead the Single-A California League in homers (24) and OPS (.962) last season. He’s been more consistent batting lefty but still has natural strength and bat speed from both sides. Most of his questions lie on the defensive side. He’s not certain to stick behind the plate, although he has the kind of thump that can make an impact even if he shifts to first base.

11. Ronny Mauricio, 2B/SS/OF (NYM No. 6)Mauricio was a Top 100 prospect before suffering a torn ACL that will keep him out for most (if not all of) the 2024 season. When healthy, he made extremely loud contact with an average exit velocity of 90.7 mph. The 117.3 mph recorded on his first MLB knock was the hardest-hit ball by a Met in 2023. Stronger from the left side, Mauricio chases too much and will be missing valuable time to polish his approach at the plate — and find a defensive home to maximize his athleticism.

Honorable mention: Felnin Celesten, SS (SEA No. 5)Celesten doesn’t necessarily slot in 12th on this list, but he merits mention because of his background as the No. 2 international prospect in 2023, behind only Salas. Given that he only started logging professional at-bats in May after a hamstring strain sidelined him last year, it’s too early to include him on the list outright. But if he continues to swing the bat as he begin his time in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, the Dominican shortstop has star potential with plus speed and an impressive swing that is slightly better from the right side.