2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2021 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

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Welcome to the updated 2021 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings.  This will be the first time that I am doing the prospect rankings.

Ranking Philosophy

We are about 45 games into the minor league season.  In doing a prospect ranking now, I am putting more weight into the current season than I normally would.  With no minor league season in 2020, much of the pre-season ranking is based on information from 2019.  Prospects are young and, in many cases, still maturing, a lot can change in eighteen months.  Prospects were continuing to work to during the time off, but much of this was done behind the scenes.

There were tidbits of information that become available from 2020, but it was limited.  One piece of information that did come out from the 2020 alternate training site was regarding Red Sox prospect, Jarren Duran revamping his swing and turning into a power hitter.  This has been confirmed very loudly in-game action in 2021 with Duran among the league leagues in homers after only hitting eight homers in 880 career professional plate appearances previously.

Changes

From the pre-season prospect rankings, there are 29 players that have graduated and are no longer prospects.  With all these prospects losing eligibility, the first game action in some time, combined with me conducting the prospect rankings for the first time, the list is completely different than it was less than two months ago.

In my article on June 17th, I compiled lists of prospects who have performed well and who have been disappointments. These lists can be used to get an idea of the prospects whose performance this year have changed their rankings the most.  Generally speaking, the prospects that I have ranked higher than the consensus have excelled in 2021 and have quickly moved up my rankings.

Biggest Challenge

MacKenzie Gore and Forrest Whitley were the most difficult players to rank.  I still believe both have a higher upside than any pitching prospect but it is anybody’s guess whether they will ever get close to their top form again.  Ranking pitching prospects are much of a crapshoot than hitters.  There was no way to predict in 2019 when Gore was throwing four-plus pitching and looking dominant, he would be struggling like he is today.  No matter how good a pitching prospect looks there is a lot that can go wrong with injuries and mechanics.

Ranking Factors

There are several factors to consider when ranking prospects for dynasty purposes. I focus on their recent performances, their proximity to the majors, their upside and likelihood of reaching their potential  It is also important to look at the organization the prospect is in.

A prospect on a rebuilding team like Jared Oliva on the Pirates has a clear path to an everyday role.  Andre Jackson is a pitching prospect on the Dodgers that I like, but he is already 25 and the Dodgers have so much pitching depth that the likelihood that he ever becomes a full-time starter for them is small.

Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles pitching prospect has looked tremendous this year but his ranking is a bit lower because he will be pitching in the AL East in a ballpark that gives up a lot of homers.

Riser(s)

  • Anthony Volpe (Yankees)-Volpe has looked terrific in his pro debut out of high school.  He is among the league leaders in homers and stolen bases while playing above-average shortstop and walking more than he is striking out.
  • Shane Baz (Rays)- He has always had tremendous stuff but this year has shown huge improvements in his control.
  • Nick Pratto (Royals)-Pratto has 13 homers in 42 games at AA in 2021 versus nine in 124 games in High A in 2019 while making significantly more contact and walking more.
  • Jake Eder (Marlins)-A relative unknown as a 2020 fourth-round pick at Vanderbilt where he only started thirteen games, the Marlins gave Eder an aggressive assignment to AA and he has excelled.
  • Gabriel Moreno (Blue Jays)- A 21-year-old catcher in AA with good defensive skills who hit .400 in May and has been even more impressive in June (8.5% strikeout rate).  Moreno not Alejandro Kirk is the Jays catcher of the future.

Faller(s)

  • MacKenzie Gore (Padres) -It was a mystery last year why the consensus number one pitching prospect in baseball was not considered for a call-up.  However, Gore has lost his 2019 form and he is a bit of a mess at this point.
  • Nate Pearson (Blue Jays)- Pearson looked like he was up for good when he had a great MLB debut in 2020, but he has struggled with his command and efficiency since and now has a significant groin injury that will keep him out for a while
  • Matt Manning (Tigers) -Despite his recent call-up, Manning is not throwing as well as he did in 2019.  He missed time in 2020 at the alternate training site with a forearm strain.
  • Geraldo Perdomo (Diamondbacks)- Perdomo may be too passive (23.1 percent walk rate).  His .125 BABIP is impacting his batting average but he only has four extra-base hits in 39 games.

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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