The first half of 2021 saw a continued influx of entry-level talent into the big leagues. The dual challenge of handling duty time and last year’s lost minor league season apparently did little to hamper the flow of potential talent. At the start of July 16 of the second half of the season, 19 of the top 50 preseason prospects rankings either exceeded the rookie eligibility threshold (50 IPs for pitchers, 130 at batting for positional players, or 45 days in total on a big active league roster excluding September) or part of an active big league roster – and fantasy baseball owners in all types of leagues are taking note.
The compressed minor league system, improved player development programs and financial pressures that force many clubs, especially smaller market teams, to ‘use or lose’ their young talent will likely continue to push clubs to promote more. aggressively the best prospects.
The second half of the season might not see quite the same number of top prospects making their big-league debuts, but there are at least 10 guys in the current Top 50 who should see the league action. majors before the end of 2021. Many of the others will be vying for big league spots in spring training next year.
Two players who are unlikely to reach the majors until late 2022 at the earliest are recent rookies Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker. Although neither has officially signed, the chances of not reaching an agreement and returning to college are extremely low. There are other ’21 rookies with a lot of strengths who could make future Top 50 lists, but Leiter and Rocker are the only two whose talent deserves to be included without the benefit of having made their mark. proofs in the professional ball.
MLB 2021 Top Prospects Update: Rookies, Sleepers You Need To Know In Fantasy Baseball
- Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore
- Bobby Witt, SS, Kansas City
- Spencer Torkelson, 1B / 3B, Detroit
- CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego
- Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle
- Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco
- Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami
- Jasson Dominguez, OF, New York Yankees
- Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore
- Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay
- Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
- Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati
- Luis Patino, RHP, Tampa Bay
- Riley Greene, OF, Detroit
- Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
- Joey Bart, C, San Francisco
- Jack Leiter, RHP, Texas
- Luis Campusano, C, San Diego
- Max Meyer, RHP, Miami
- Emerson Hancock, RHP, Seattle
- Kumar Rocker, RHP, New York Mets
- Nolan Gorman, 3B, Saint-Louis
- Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona
- Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto
- Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati
- Noelvi Marte, SS, Seattle
- Cade Cavalli, RHP, Washington
- DL room. LHP, Baltimore
- Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets
- Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto
- Nick Gonzales, SS, Pittsburgh
- Edward Cabrera, RHP, Miami
- Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh
- Garrett Mitchell, OF, Milwaukee
- George Kirby, RHP, Seattle
- Xavier Edwards, 2B, Tampa Bay
- Josh Jung, 3B, Texas
- Asa Lacy, LHP, Kansas City
- Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees
- Michael Harris, OF, Atlanta
- Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Saint-Louis
- Tyler Freeman, SS, Cleveland
- Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta
- Jordan Groshans, SS, Toronto
- MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego
- José Barrero, SS, Cincinnati
- Robert Hassell, OF, San Diego
- Tyler Soderstrom, C, Oakland
- Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta
Bobby Witt, SS, Kansas City (# 2). It took a while to get on the Bobby Witt train, but after seeing him in person at the Futures Game in Denver, I’m now fully into it. Witt has shown an electric bat speed and increased strength that should allow him to hit with more power. He impressed in batting practice and hit two rockets plus speed during the game itself. His swing path is incredibly efficient and he should hit average against advanced pitchers as he gains experience.
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore (9). Probably no pitching prospect has seen his stock increase as much this season as Rodriguez. He had a great 2019 campaign at Low-A, but he exploded this year with a dominant performance in High-A and Double-A. Rodriguez’s fastball in the mid-90s has gotten more explosive, his leadership has improved, his three-pitch mix is cutting up good hitters, and he looks more like a front row guy than a starter # 2 or 3. that he seemed to be two years ago.
Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay (ten). Baz tightened his delivery and began to harness his power. He went from a back-end starter to someone who could be a No.2. His mid-90s fastball looked electric when I saw him at the Futures Game. His slider was over and his change was medium to above average. With three legitimate weapons, a much improved command and a growing track record of success against advanced hitters, he’s at the forefront of the majors.
Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets (12). Alvarez had a breakthrough in 2019 and continued to play in 2021. Alvarez has incredible bat speed and tremendous power, but he can overtake and lose his bat path. When at his best, he has good pitch recognition and uses a compact swing to establish constant contact. He’s still a long way from the majors, but he has serious potential and has the potential to strike both mid and power.
Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati (13). Lodolo went from being a polite college kid with average stuff to someone who now projects himself as a No.2 starter. Lodolo has always had a good mastery, but his fastball is now in the mid-90s and had a big move when I saw it at Futures Game. His cursor is blinking more and his change has become an above average weapon. With three throws and excellent leadership, Lodolo could be at the top of the Reds’ rotation for too long.
Riley Greene, DE Detroit (15). Greene was athletic but raw on his pro debut in 2019, but he’s been polishing a lot since then, even though he’s only 20 years old. He still doesn’t fully exploit his lower half to generate power, but his swing mechanics are better, his bat speed is more, and he has excellent hand-eye coordination. He’ll have to keep working on reclaiming his home ground, but he’s starting to look like the star the Tigers were hoping for when they drafted him.
Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels (16). Detmers made a good impression in his first professional season (3.60 ERA and 90/17 K / BB in 50 innings while breaking levels and starting his professional career in Double-A). Detmers has a polished mix at four lengths including a low fastball in the mid-90s. He commands well and prepares hitters. An improved slider to go with its plus curve and a solid shift make this a potential # 2 or 3 starter.
Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati (26). Greene went from best hope to Tommy John as an afterthought before he turned 20. Now, still on the cusp of her 21st birthday, Greene has started to harness her triple-digit heat and display dominant digits at Double-A. He hasn’t had the same Triple-A success, but he’s now starting to look like the front row starter everyone expected when he was drafted second overall in 2017.
Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto (31). Pearson had a stellar season in 2019, but injuries have slowed him down since. When in good health, Pearson has good control of an overpowered fastball that hits three digits, a plus slider, and a solid shift. He is expected to be at least a No. 2 starter in the majors, but repeated injuries have clouded his future.
Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Saint-Louis (42). In 2019, Liberatore displayed many advantages as a future No. 3 starter. Two years later his business has not improved and he has struggled with some advanced hitters. He’s still only 21, but he’ll need to fine-tune his change or add weapons to reach his potential.
Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta (44). Waters won the Double-A Southern League and MVP title in 2019, but he’s struggled this season at Triple-A. When I saw him in person during All-Star weekend, it seemed like his balance was out of sync, he was getting too wide in his stance, and he was losing leverage in his swing. When balanced and synchronized, the Waters switch has above-average raw power on both sides of the plate. If he can regain balance in his swing and improve his pitch recognition, he still has a lot of advantages, but his struggles against the advanced pitch raise questions about his future.
Jordan Groshans, SS, Toronto (45). In 2019, Groshans looked like an advanced hitter with increased power potential and solid overall skills. This season, it doesn’t look like Groshans has developed much since. He doesn’t harness his power in games, and he looks more average than positive in all areas. He still has time to develop but it looks like he’s stalled a bit.
MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego (46). On pure stuff, Gore could be a Top 10 prospect. He was dominant in 2019, then lost control of his delivery and hasn’t been able to sync since. Light bulbs have also been a persistent problem. When he’s right, he’s got four lengths, good control and frontline starter profiles. If he manages to find the consistency of his performance, he will move up this list.
Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta (50). He was brutally outmatched on his big league debut and didn’t play well at Triple-A. He’s still an elite center fielder, which means he’ll lose chances to improve his offense. Plus, he’s only 22 and has the physical tools to be an above average hitter. In January, I wrote that he needed to improve his plate discipline and refine his swing mechanics. Until he makes progress in these two areas, he will struggle.
Graduated (currently in the majors and / or exceeded recruit eligibility)
- Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay (1)
- Jared Kelenic, OF, Seattle (5)
- Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox (9)
- Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox (10)
- Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta (11)
- Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh (14)
- Spencer Howard, RHP, Philadelphia (17)
- Casey Mize, RHP, Detroit (19)
- Dylan Carlson, OF, St. (20)
- Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit (21)
- Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Chicago White Sox (22)
- Triston McKenzie, RHP, Cleveland (23)
- Logan Gilbert, RHP, Seattle (25)
- Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay (27)
- Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota (31)
- Tarik Skubal, LHP, Detroit (41)
- Dane Dunning, RHP, Texas (44)
- Garrett Crochet, LHP, Chicago White Sox (48)
- Ryan Mountcastle, OF, Baltimore (49)
Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City (26). A tough start in the big leagues seems to have shaken his confidence.
Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees (30). His business took a turn for the worse and he struggled in both the majors and Triple-A.
Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota (34). A torn ACL and no record of success in the high minors leaves him with a lot to prove in 2022.
Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston (38). Tommy John’s surgery darkens his future.
AJ Puk, LHP, Oakland (50). The injuries left Puk with diminished stuff and shaky control.