I love baseball – the stadiums, program booklets, overpriced hotdogs, soft pretzels, fan comradery, and the thrill of watching your favorite win. My love of baseball first brought me into the realm of fantasy sports and, ultimately, into the dynasty world. Eventually, I knew that I would end up in dynasty leagues because of how much enjoyment I get from watch and ranking prospects. I’ve often joked with friends that someday I may end up as a minor league baseball writer traveling the Carolina Leagues for my retirement. Truth be told, it’s more than a real possibility because it combines three things I absolutely adore – baseball, writing, and analytics! But until that does come to fruition, I offer these snippets.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be publishing my top-50 prospects for dynasty ranking heading into the 2021 year. Each article will post 10 players, listed in countdown fashion, ending with my #1 ranked prospect. I will also offer a quick commentary on each player listed. I hope you enjoy it!
#10 – Austin Martin, 3B, TOR
Martin is the Blue Jays’ #1 ranked prospect. Scouts praised him for a mature approach at the plate and quality bat-to-ball skills, making him the toughest hitter to strike out in a power conference. Martin is also believed to have above-average raw power in his bat. He is a smart runner and a versatile defender – being able to play at short, second, third, and center.
The switch-hitting Carlson saw his first action in 2020 over the span of 35 games and 119 AB’s. While Carlson did struggle a bit, there were also flashes of why the Cardinals and evaluators have been clamoring over this power and abilities. Carlson has a disciplined approach, ample bat speed, and above-average raw strength. Expect this 22-year-old to contribute to all 3 slash lines for years to come!
According to MLB Pipeline, Luciano is technically the #2 Giants prospect (behind Joey Bart, who I have ranked #20); however, Luciano is only 19 and has only played in Rookie-level and Low-A games. He has impact-level upside due to a projectable frame and great bat speed. He most likely doesn’t stick at short depending on how his body matures, but it almost doesn’t matter where he plays. Luciano has all the tools to be an impact-level hitter very soon.
Who doesn’t like raw power? Here is a guy that may be able to, slightly, remind Sox fans of the days of Frank Thomas because Vaughns raw power is without question. For a 22-year-old who has yet to play above High-A ball, Vaughn has impressed the Sox brass to the point where he’s rumored to be a 2021 DH option. Expect Vaughn to open 2021 at AAA but don’t be surprised if he makes more than a couple, cameo appearances in the bigs.
What hasn’t been said, or read, about Rutschman to-date? I can’t remember the last catcher prospect that got the level of praise, coverage, and hype in a very long-time. So instead of simply regurgitating the same news, I’ll say to expect Rutschman to open 2021 in AA with a fairly quick promotion to AAA. Let’s not forget that Rutschman never played above High-A. At the same time, I don’t expect to see Rutschman in the majors in 2021, especially since the Orioles are so bad, but under that same premise, he has no competition ahead of him either. The only fear is that Rutschman is rushed to the majors, and his development never fully progresses, which is a genuine possibility because, well, it is the Orioles.
After suffering a hairline fracture on his glove hand back in the summer workouts, Julio Rodriguez is finally getting back into game action. The soon to be 20-year-old is playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic while rehabbing his wrist. Again, Rodriguez was hit on the wrist while playing winter ball – luckily not the same wrist he fractured – but the second HBP has made it difficult to get quality at-bats. Expect Rodriguez to open 2021 in High-A for the Mariners and, if healthy, make a quick jump to AA.
Torkelson is a pure and athletic talent that will be extremely good as he keeps developing. He possesses a pure bat with roaring power and will lock down the middle of the Tigers lineup. If he can be a first base/third base combo player, it just adds to the potential value he brings to the table. Look for this 21-year-old athlete to make a quick accession through the Tigers farm system over the next couple of seasons.
Mariners’ fans should be thanking the Mets’ trading Kelenic to acquire Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. The 21-year-old Kelenic has excelled in all facets of the game, ranking him in almost every top-5 list and as high as #2. Expect Kelenic to open 2021 in AA but also to make a quick jump to AAA. If the Mariners find themselves in a playoff hunt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kelenic debut in 2021; otherwise, we may be waiting till 2022.
While I was a little surprised the Padres didn’t call up Gore in 2020; I’m also a little glad they didn’t. Gore checks are all the boxes in terms of qualities and traits you want a pitcher to possess – he’s athletic, he should have multiple plus offerings, and he should have above-average command. Barring an injury, I expect Gore to be a front-line starter for the Padres for years to come. In 2021, expect Gore to open the year in AAA and make, at least, a couple of cameo appearances in the majors.
The Rays’ sent shockwaves through their fanbase when they added Franco to their taxi squad during the 2020 postseason. Imagine a soon-to-be 20-year-old, who has yet to play in a professional baseball game above High-A, to possibly be on the cusp of making his MLB debut on the game’s biggest stage. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen, but it did leave fans wondering if Franco could debut in 2021; until Franco suffered a shoulder injury during winter ball right around Thanksgiving. While Franco is expected to be fully recovered before the 2021 season, Franco should open the year in AA and possibly make the jump to bigs if the Rays find themselves in another playoff hunt.
Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter @drunkenangelz.