2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2021 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

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Welcome to the updated 2021 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings.  This prospect ranking is through the end of the 2021 minor league season,  The number of ranked prospects has increased to 364.

Ranking Philosophy

I am conservative with the rankings of prospects that have yet played in full-season ball. For young players, I do not believe that a dominant performance in the Complex League or the Dominican Summer League is particularly meaningful. Talented pitchers like Eury Perez are assigned directly to full season. Young hitters can put good stats by beating up on pitchers who will never make it to full-season ball.

I put more value on production than other rankings that value potential. A young hitter with a strong hit tool but limited athletism like Euribiel Angeles and Curtis Mead is going to be higher on my rankings than most. Alternately I am likely to be lower on Victor Acosta or Reginald Preciado who have yet to reach full-season ball.

Changes

There were no changes to the top ten. The top 18 prospects are in a tier by themselves. There is a huge dropoff after that due to graduation and poor performance.

Several highly regarding prospects had poor seasons and while I was slow to move them down earlier in the year, with the season over the results can no longer be ignored.

There were also a number of prospects that emerged later in the year and likely proved that they should have been ranked earlier in the year.

Believing in The Talent

The most difficult prospects to rank are players who had been productive in the past, that are previously ranked high who struggled in 2021.  I will move the prospect down but not too much. There was a reason they were ranked high, to begin with.

Jordyn Adam is an example. I was very impressed with what I saw from Adams in 2019 at Tri Cities in the Midwest League and the reports on him at the Alternate Training Site in 2020 were excellent.

I had Adams ranked 23rd on my initial 2021 rankings.

Adams hurt his leg in the third game of 2021 and missed over five weeks.  When he returned Adams never got going and had an awful year with a 66 wRC+ and .600 OPS.

I moved Adams down to 55 which I am sure is higher than anywhere else. Adams’ is a prime candidate to have a MJ Melendez like turnaround in 2022.

Riser(s)

  • Nick Yorke (Boston)-After a slow start in May, the 19-year-old 2020 first-round pick was terrific and kept right on hitting when he got promoted for the last month to High A Greenville.
  • Jeremy Peña (Astros)- Expected to miss the entire season after, wrist surgery, Peña returned a month early and made up for lost time. Peña only had 43 games of High A experience but had 10 homers and 5 steals in 30 AAA games.
  • Kyle Harrison (Giants)- A talented 20-year-old lefty who is in a great organization for developing pitchers. Harrison struck out 41 percent of batters and allowing 4 earned runs in his last 36.2 innings.
  • Alex De Jesus (Dodgers)-In his first season in full-season ball at 19 years old, De Jesus struggled for the first two months with a 88 wRC+ and a 37.4 strikeout rate. The rate of way, De Jesus had a 149 wRC+ with a 24.9 percent strikeout rate and a 18.7 percent walk rate.
  • Quinn Priester-A 2019 high school first-round draft pick that has several dominant games in the second half of the season in High A. Priester has the look of a pitcher that is close to putting it all together.

Faller(s)

  • JJ Bleday (Marlins)- The top five picks in the 2019 MLB draft include three of my top four prospects, Andrew Vaughn who spent all of 2021 in the majors and Bleday.  The fourth pick in the draft spent all year in AA with a .695 OPS and 97 wRC+. He will be 24 in November.
  • Austin Martin (Twins) -A advanced college player who was a high draft pick. Martin was not terrible but did not do much to stand out with five homers and 14 stolen bases in 93 games.
  • DL Hall (Orioles) -Few pitching prospects have better stuff than Hall but there is work to do to become a major league starter that can go six innings on a regular basis. Hall did not pitch after June 12th and have only thrown 217 innings in four and half years as a pro.
  • Jeter Downs (Bos) -A top prospect who was a big part of the Mookie Betts trade and was considered on the cusp of the majors at the beginning of the season, Downs laid an egg in 2021.  There is still 20/20 potential but his on-base percentage was .272 and his strikeout percentage increased to 32.3 percent after being under 20 percent previously.
  • Brendan McKay (TB)- When McKay made his MLB debut in June 2019 he was a consensus top 25 prospect.  He was one inning short of losing his prospect status in 2019 but has had shoulder and elbow issues since.  It is a question of whether he get back to where he was.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

*Note ECR column is not how much the players rank has changed, it is the difference between my ranks and Fantasy Pros Expert Consensus Rankings

About Mike Schneider

Michael grew up in the seventies and eighties watching This Week in Baseball and The Baseball Bunch. He played in his first fantasy baseball league in 1986. Michael lives in Frederick, MD where he developed a love for minor league baseball.

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