Top 5 Cactus League Teams to Watch in 2024 

Camelback Ranch-Glendale Ballpark

The off-season saw some big trades, setting the stage for an exciting upcoming season. Not everyone keeps up with every MLB trade and update, but many look forward to baseball season for the energy of the games and the excitement of a great matchup. 

Lots of teams and players are expected to shine in the preseason, regular season and postseason, some fighting for an opening day spot. Whether you’re heading to MLB Spring Training in Arizona or just curious about the upcoming season, this article is for you. Here are the top 5 Cactus League teams everyone should keep an eye on in 2024.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Spring Training Stadium: Camelback Ranch-Glendale

If there is a baseball jackpot, the Dodgers have hit theirs. Signing the best baseball player in the world, former Los Angeles Angel Shohei Ohtani, and bringing two elite pitchers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays. Since signing the two-time unanimous AL MVP and three-time All-Star, Ohtani Dodgers jerseys have been flying off the shelf, setting a new Fanatics’ record for most jerseys sold in the first 48 hours of release. Ohtani was previously on the Angels, a team that is not known for winning often or making it to the postseason. Ohtani is anxious and ready for a World Series win, and so is the rest of the team. Yamamoto, just like Ohtani, is a once-in-a-lifetime player. Having won the pitching Triple Crown in Nippon Professional Baseball, leading in league wins, ERA (Earned Run Average, number of runs a pitcher allows each game) and strikeouts, and winning the Eiji Sawamura Award—Japan’s version of Cy Young—over the past three years, Yamamoto is a strong asset that the Dodgers are ready to unleash. As baseball history has shown time and time again, money cannot buy you a championship title … but the Dodgers are near close to creating the indestructible team that could win it all. 

2. Texas Rangers

Spring Training Stadium: Surprise Stadium

The defending champions of the World Series are facing setbacks that could cost them their title. Max Scherzer, starting pitcher for the Rangers, underwent back surgery and will be out until midseason. This will put pitcher Jacob deGrom on the mound with the team relying on him to keep them afloat for the time being. With players like Corey Seager, shortstop, who is believed to be primed for an MVP-caliber season, they might be able to make their way back to the postseason once more. Seager has fought for the MVP title for years, but Ohtani made it near impossible. Now that Ohtani has moved from the American League to the National League, Seager’s chance of MVP has grown immensely. Seager, along with deGrom, are players to look out for and to watch for improvement, phenomenal plays and much more. This team had an amazing season in 2023 and, if the odds are in their favor, they might be able to do it all again. Evan Carter,  barring injury, will be on the opening day roster after his key role last fall. With Leody Tavares in center field, Adolis Garcia in right and Carter in left, Texas has their outfielders ready for action. But, the question is, will Wyatt Langford join the outfield rotation? Langford has a high ceiling, higher than anyone in the group, and his bat is ready. Will Langford join the Defending World Series champs on opening day? Keep an eye out for him in Surprise, AZ. 

3. San Diego Padres

Spring Training Stadium: Peoria Sports Complex

After the overhaul during the offseason, the Padres are ready to shape up their rotation for Spring Training. With Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove leading, the team is gearing up for an exciting season giving fans and new manager Mike Shildt much to look forward to. Letting go of Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo and Nick Martinez along with the loss of Juan Soto in December, the Padres roster is looking a bit different this season. Michael King, the prize of Sotos trade, is slotted for the rotation along with the healthy and progressively ready Musgrove and Darvish. From the minors, the Padres have snagged outfielder Jurickson Profar on a one-year deal while hanging onto some familiar faces. Keep an eye on 17-year-old Ethan Salas, impressing big-league pitchers with his catching skills. When it comes to their opening day lineup, players like Jackson Merrill, Graham Pauley, Eguy Rosario, and Jakob Marsee are in the mix for infield and outfield spots. Rosario, the only one with MLB experience, is ranked 16th in the Padres’ system by His ability to play second and third base keeps him in the mix. With third baseman Manny Machado healing from an elbow injury, Rosario could see plenty of action early on. Merrill’s the only Top 100 prospect here, but Pauley and Marsee could become regulars down the line. Still, the Padres are scouting external options to bolster their squad.

4. Milwaukee Brewers 

Spring Training Stadium: American Family Fields of Phoenix

MLB Pipeline’s second-ranked prospect overall, outfielder Jackson Chourio, secured an unprecedented eight-year, $82 million extension, marking the largest contract ever awarded to a player without MLB experience. While such a deal might suggest a guaranteed spot on the opening day roster, Chourio’s limited experience—just six Triple-A games—and his upcoming 20th birthday on March 11, leave room for uncertainty. A challenging Cactus League season could see him headed back to the minors. Nonetheless, Chourio promises to be a standout during Spring Training, potentially poised to make history. Meanwhile, Jacob Misiorowski could swiftly ascend to the majors if his fastball and sliders perform as expected. Newly acquired Joey Ortiz will be vying for the vacant third base position, while Robert Gasser and Carlos F. Rodriguez aim to secure spots in the rotation. New manager Pat Murphy, former bench coach and mentor to former manager Craig Counsell, has taken the reins after Craig Counsell, Brewers’ all-time winningest manager, left for a five-year, $40 million contract to rival Chicago Cubs. With the knowledge of Counsell, the trial rotations and the resurgence of Christian Yelich, this could be a great season for Milwaukee. The impact player, Yelich, came close to matching his MVP-caliber numbers from 2018 and showed his importance to the team. 

5. Cincinnati Reds

Spring Training Stadium: Goodyear Ballpark

Cincinnati is armed with some of the best young position players in the sport, and with their 82 wins last season, they are ready for another big jump this year. Starting with their rotation, the Reds are shaping up to have Graham Ashcraft, Frankie Montas, Hunter Greene, Andrew Abbott and Nick Lodolo. Everyone except Abbott lost time last season due to injuries. Noelvi Marte, third baseman but also versatile in the infield, gained a space in the infield after his hitting average continuously got better and better in the second half of the season. Although Marte has impressed the Reds, they also signed Jeimer Candelario, a fellow third baseman, in the same position. Will the Reds give Marte a chance to show his versatility as the strong right-handed player coming off the bench or will he be shipped back to Triple-A to play every day? Pitcher Connor Phillips, ranked 70th overall prospect, needs to learn to control his pitch in order to get on the Reds’ rotation. With Phillips’  great fastball and breaking pitch, he might just be able to gain control in time for opening day.

Learn more about Spring Training in Arizona at

Be sure to read more about The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide to the Cactus League Spring Training here. Learn more about Spring Training in Arizona at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts