Top baseball rookies 2021

Top baseball rookies 2021 DEFAULT

New name at top of Rookie Power Rankings

August 25th, 2021

A new king sits atop the Rookie Power Rankings throne.

Reds second baseman Jonathan India climbs to the top spot in MLB Pipeline’s Rookie Power Rankings this week. He unseats Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers, who had sat at No. 1 for six straight editions of the RPR dating back to June 2 but is still rehabbing in the Minor Leagues after dealing with family medical issues back home. Over in the American League, Astros pitcher Luis Garcia claims his highest RPR ranking of the season and will need to hold off outfielders Randy Arozarena (Rays) and Adolis García (Rangers) for the junior circuit’s rookie prize the rest of the way.

The RPR is voted on by MLB Pipeline staff and reflects who we believe will win Rookie of the Year awards by season’s end, combining both 2021 performance and some projection for the remainder of the campaign. Given that the RPR runs every two weeks, only two editions of the rankings remain this season.

1. Jonathan India, 2B, Reds
Previous RPR: 2

India keeps finding ways to show why he’s an above-average offensive player in the Majors. Prior to August, he was walking at impressive levels and posting high on-base percentages. He’s been more aggressive this month and is showing off more power with six homers and .560 slugging percentage through 22 games, both season bests for a single month. He leads all rookies with a 3.3 fWAR, 129 wRC+ and .388 OBP and ranks third with an .848 OPS (minimum 250 plate appearances). There’s a reason why Cincinnati put India into the leadoff spot in early June and hasn’t looked back since.

2. Luis Garcia, RHP, Astros
Previous RPR: 3

Garcia’s gem against the Royals on Tuesday (6 2/3 IP, 0 R, 7 K) isn’t the only reason why he moved up here, but it sure didn’t hurt. The 24-year-old right-hander has been as reliable as they come for the AL West leaders, especially of late. He owns a 1.99 ERA with 23 strikeouts and five walks over his last four starts (22 2/3 innings). Garcia leads all rookies with 144 K’s in 123 1/3 innings (10 more than Tarik Skubal in second) and has backed that up with a 3.21 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over the entire season.

3. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins
Previous RPR: 1

Rogers has made only one Major League start since July 20, at first due to lower back spasms and now due to his noble decision to head home to help family deal with COVID-related issues. He made a rehab appearance for Low-A Jupiter on Tuesday, lasting 3 1/3 innings while throwing 55 pitches. The Marlins want him to work back to full strength before giving him another shot at the Majors. The fact he still slots into the No. 3 spot speaks to how much of a lead he had in previous RPRs. Rogers still claims a 2.45 ERA, 129 strikeouts and a 3.3 fWAR (still best among rookie pitchers) in 110 innings this season. He’ll be welcome back with open arms when he does return to the Miami rotation.

4. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays
Previous RPR: 3 (tied)

The preseason AL Rookie of the Year favorite is in the midst of easily his best offensive month yet of 2021. Arozarena is hitting .396/.484/.642 with eight extra-base hits in 15 August games to this point. He owns a 1.125 OPS in that period after failing to post an OPS above .800 in any of the preceding four months. He owns a .275/.354/.455 line on the season to go with 16 homers and 11 steals in 111 games, and his 127 wRC+ is not that far off India’s mark at the top of the list. If he can carry this into September, he would give himself a great shot at passing Garcia among AL rookies on this list.

5. Adolis García, OF, Rangers
Previous RPR: 5

García continues to mix power and defense to make himself one of the highlights of a rough season down in Arlington. His 27 homers continue to lead all rookies this season, and his .482 slugging percentage ranks fifth (minimum 250 plate appearances). He is also tied for seventh among all Major League center fielders with seven Outs Above Average, thanks to his good jumps and impressive speed. The rest of his offensive profile drags down his ROY chances -- his season OBP has dropped below .300 this month -- but the 28-year-old is showing just enough loud tools to keep him prominently in the race.

6. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Previous RPR: 8 (tied)

The switch-hitting outfielder was out from Aug. 13-23 with a sprained right wrist but came back to go 1-for-3 with a double Tuesday. That return was promising because Carlson looked very much like he was clicking offensively prior to the injury. Through 11 games in August, he owns a .357/.417/.524 line with five extra-base hits and two stolen bases. Power continues to be the biggest offensive issue for Carlson in 2021, but he’s still hitting .261/.342/.420 with 12 homers and an above-average 109 wRC+ through 113 games. These recent improvements only help his chances to get down-ballot NL Rookie of the Year votes come October.

T7. Emmanuel Clase, RHP, Indians
Previous RPR: 7

Yes, the deck is stacked against Clase as a reliever competing against starting pitchers and everyday players for an end-of-year award. But he continues to tick all the boxes needed to get some ROY consideration. Clase leads all rookies with 18 saves and places seventh among all AL relievers in the category. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 15 appearances, dating back to July 17, and has struck out 16 and allowed only six hits and one walk in 15 1/3 innings over that span. He has a 1.55 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings on the season as a whole. Throwing a cutter that averages 100.1 mph sure helps.

T7. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, Orioles
Previous RPR: 8 (tied)

Mountcastle was already looking like a good hitter in the Majors, but he’s taken matters to a new level in August with a .372/.391/.884 line and six homers in 12 games this month. Those numbers could have been even greater had he not missed 10 days due to a concussion. His 23 homers place him second among all rookies as do his 195 total bases. There’s a fighting chance the Baltimore slugger could track down García in both categories over the remaining five weeks and give the AL ROY race even more intrigue.

9. Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Cubs
Previous RPR: unranked

Unlike some others on this list, Wisdom has actually struggled a bit with the bat in August, but since time is almost running out and the balance of performance vs. projection is tipping heavily toward the former, the 29-year-old deserves a spot in the RPR. Along with García and Mountcastle, he is one of only three rookies with 20 homers in 2021, having hit exactly that many over 78 games with Chicago. His .538 slugging percentage is tops among all rookies while his 125 wRC+ places fourth. It’s possible pitchers are beginning to figure out the right-handed slugger since he’s hitting just .211 with a .662 OPS and 32 strikeouts in 20 games this month, but his impressive previous performances from the summer will still earn him some ROY consideration no matter what follows.

10. Tyler Stephenson, C, Reds
Previous RPR: unranked

The only thing holding Stephenson off previous RPR editions was his lack of consistent playing time. He’s still basically splitting duties with Tucker Barnhart behind the plate in Cincinnati, but his hitting performance has been too good to keep him off the list as the season winds down. Stephenson owns a .289/.374/.452 line with nine homers over 313 plate appearances. He’s been pushing for even more playing time of late with four of those homers coming over 11 games in August alone. His 1.026 OPS this month is his highest of any yet in 2021. Barnhart is the better defensive catcher, but Stephenson’s bat will earn him a prominent role in the Reds’ chase for an NL Wild Card spot.

Also receiving votes: Shane McClanahan, LHP, Rays; David Bednar, RHP, Pirates; Garrett Whitlock, RHP, Red Sox

Honorable mentions: Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves; Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers; Akil Baddoo, OF, Tigers; Andrew Vaughn, OF, White Sox; Wander Franco, SS, Rays

Sours: https://www.mlb.com/news/rookie-power-rankings-august-25

Welcome to the third edition of theScore's 2021 MLB Rookie of the Year rankings. The race is heating up, with a few new names joining some familiar mainstays.

American League

5. Alek Manoah, Blue Jays

IPKERAWHIPWAR
52.1602.581.010.7

Manoah owns the lowest ERA among AL rookie starters and ranks fifth in strikeouts per nine innings. While the 23-year-old has played fewer frames than some of his rookie peers, his case is bolstered by his emergence as a critical starter for a potential playoff team. If there was a rookie MVP award, Manoah's value to the Blue Jays this season might make him the front-runner.

4. Eric Haase, Tigers

GPHRRBIAVG/OBP/SLGWAR
661846.238/.288/.5151.4

Haase has been a revelation for the Tigers after just six hits in 26 games combined between 2018-2020. The 28-year-old catcher leads all qualified rookies in slugging percentage, is second in OPS, and is third in homers. Haase has gone deep 18 times this season after coming into 2021 with one career long ball.

3. Randy Arozarena, Rays

GPHRRBISBAVG/OBP/SLGWAR
100165211.271/.347/.4612.2

Arozarena has come back to Earth after his historic run in the 2020 playoffs, but his .808 OPS is still tops among first-year players with at least 250 at-bats. The 26-year-old Cuban also leads all rookies with 104 hits and 67 runs. He's played a large role for a Rays club that surprisingly leads the AL East after losing several key pieces to free agency and injuries.

2. Adolis Garcia, Rangers

GPHRRBIAVG/OBP/SLGWAR
1022568.250/.295/.4902.1

At least Rangers fans can still cheer for Garcia after the club traded star outfielder Joey Gallo. Garcia, 28, has come out of nowhere to hit 25 round-tippers and collect 68 RBIs, which are both tops for rookies. His .490 slugging percentage is also the best such mark for first-year players with at least 250 at-bats.

1. Luis Garcia, Astros

IPKERAWHIPWAR
106.21293.291.092.4

From one Garcia to another. The Astros right-hander is the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award thanks to his impact on a Houston rotation that has the club positioned to win another AL West title. The 24-year-old leads qualified first-year hurlers in ERA, WHIP, WAR, and strikeouts. He's given up just three homers all season, and his eight wins are second among rookies behind Rays left-hander Josh Fleming.

National League

5. Dylan Carlson, Cardinals

GPHRRBIAVG/OBP/SLGWAR
1101246.260/.340/.4211.6

If Carlson only played at Busch Stadium, he might be running away with the race. The 22-year-old outfielder owns an .826 OPS at home compared to .698 on the road. While Carlson has definitely improved from his 2020 debut with the Cardinals, it feels like there's another gear or two he's yet to unlock.

4. Ian Anderson, Braves

IPKERAWHIPWAR
96983.561.251.9

Shoulder inflammation derailed Anderson's season in early July, though he is slated to return to the Braves' rotation at some point in August. The 23-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in any of his 18 starts and has allowed two or fewer in half his outings. If he can keep his walks under wraps upon his return - they were ticking upward before his IL stint - then he has a shot at salvaging the remainder of his rookie campaign.

3. Patrick Wisdom, Cubs

GPHRRBIAVG/OBP/SLGWAR
671735.267/.335/.5641.8

Wisdom has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this season. The 29-year-old finally secured a regular job with Chicago after several cups of coffee between 2018-20, and he hasn't looked back. He leads NL rookies with 17 homers and has provided solid defense at three positions. Wisdom's done enough to garner serious consideration for this honor as a late-blooming rookie.

2. Jonathan India, Reds

GPHRRBIAVG/OBP/SLGWAR
1031348.280/.399/.4553

India showed flashes early in the season but was still slashing .230/.333/.349 with a trio of homers through the end of May. He's been one of baseball's most exciting hitters since the calendar flipped to June, however, going hitless in consecutive games only once. The 24-year-old has played a key role in keeping the Reds' playoff hopes alive, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he took over the top spot on this list by staying hot down the stretch.

1. Trevor Rogers, Marlins

IPKERAWHIPWAR
1101292.451.133.3

Rogers, 23, would be the front-runner in either league due to his elite strikeout stuff and ability to suppress the long ball. But he hasn't finished six innings in a start since mid-June and has only made one start since July 20, so his stranglehold on the top rookie hardware has loosened somewhat. Still, he's part of an impressive crop of young Marlins pitchers and may be the rotation's anchor for years to come.

Sours: https://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/2190308
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Updated 2021 MLB Top Prospects: Ranking the rookies, sleepers to know in fantasy baseball dynasty/keeper leagues

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MLB Top 50

The first half of 2021 saw a continued influx of rookie talent into the big leagues. The twin challenges of service time manipulation and last year’s lost minor league season seemingly did little to impede the flow of prospect talent. As of the July 16 start of the season’s second half, 19 of the preseason Top 50 prospect rankings have either surpassed the threshold for rookie eligibility (50 IP for pitchers, 130 at-bats for position players, or 45 total days on an active big-league roster not including September) or are on an active big-league roster -- and fantasy baseball owners in all types of leagues are taking notice.

The compressed minor league system, improved player development programs, and the financial pressures that compel many clubs, especially small-market teams, to “use or lose” their young talent are likely to continue to push clubs to aggressively promote top 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 on the current Top 50 who should see major league action before 2021 is over. Many of the rest will compete for big-league roster spots in spring training next year.  

Two players who probably won’t make it to the majors until late 2022 at the earliest are recent draftees Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker. While neither has officially signed, the chances of either not reaching a deal and returning to college is extremely remote. There are other '21 draftees with lots of upside who could grace future Top 50 lists, but Leiter and Rocker are the only two whose talent merits inclusion without the benefit of any track record in pro ball.

Updated 2021 MLB Top Prospects: Rookies, sleepers to know in fantasy baseball

  1. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore 
  2. Bobby Witt, SS, Kansas City
  3. Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B, Detroit
  4. CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego 
  5. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle
  6. Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco   
  7. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami
  8. Jasson Dominguez, OF, New York Yankees
  9. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore
  10. Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay
  11. Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers  
  12. Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
  13. Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati
  14. Luis Patino, RHP, Tampa Bay
  15. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit
  16. Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
  17. Joey Bart, C, San Francisco
  18. Jack Leiter, RHP, Texas
  19. Luis Campusano, C, San Diego
  20. Max Meyer, RHP, Miami
  21. Emerson Hancock, RHP, Seattle 
  22. Kumar Rocker, RHP, New York Mets
  23. Nolan Gorman, 3B, St. Louis
  24. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona
  25. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto
  26. Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati
  27. Noelvi Marte, SS, Seattle
  28. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Washington 
  29. D.L. Hall. LHP, Baltimore 
  30. Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets
  31. Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto
  32. Nick Gonzales, SS, Pittsburgh  
  33. Edward Cabrera, RHP, Miami 
  34. Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh
  35. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Milwaukee
  36. George Kirby, RHP, Seattle
  37. Xavier Edwards, 2B, Tampa Bay
  38. Josh Jung, 3B, Texas
  39. Asa Lacy, LHP, Kansas City
  40. Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees
  41. Michael Harris, OF, Atlanta
  42. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis
  43. Tyler Freeman, SS, Cleveland
  44. Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta 
  45. Jordan Groshans, SS, Toronto 
  46. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego
  47. Jose Barrero, SS, Cincinnati
  48. Robert Hassell, OF, San Diego
  49. Tyler Soderstrom, C, Oakland
  50. Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta

Rising

Bobby Witt, SS, Kansas City (No. 2). I’ve been slow to get on the Bobby Witt bandwagon, but after seeing him in person at the Futures Game in Denver, I’m now all in. Witt showed electric bat speed and increased strength which should allow him to hit for plus power. He wowed in batting practice and hit two rockets off plus velocity during the game itself. His swing path is incredibly efficient and he should hit for average against advanced pitching as he gains experience.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore (9). Probably no pitching prospect has seen their stock rise as much this season as Rodriguez. He had an excellent 2019 campaign at Low-A, but he has exploded this year with a dominant performance in High-A and Double-A. Rodriguez’s mid-90s fastball has gotten more explosive, his command has improved, his three pitch mix is carving up good hitters and he’s looking more like a frontline guy than the No. 2 or 3 starter that he appeared to be two years ago.

Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay(10). Baz has tightened up his delivery and has begun to harness his power stuff. He’s gone 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 plus and his change was average to above average. With three legitimate weapons, much improved command, and a growing track record of success against advanced hitters, he’s on the cusp of the majors.

Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets (12). Alvarez had a breakout 2019 and continued to perform in 2021. Alvarez has incredible bat speed and tremendous power, but he can overswing and lose his bat path. When he’s at his best he has good pitch recognition and uses a compact swing to make consistent contact. He’s still a long way from the majors, but he has serious upside and has the potential to hit for both average and power.  

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati (13). Lodolo has gone from a polished college guy with average stuff to someone who now projects as a No. 2 starter. Lodolo has always has good command but his fastball now sits in the mid 90’s and had great movement when I saw him at the Futures Game. His slider flashes plus and his change has become an above-average weapon.  With three pitches and great command, Lodolo could be pitching at the front of the Reds rotation before too long.

Riley Greene, OF Detroit (15). Greene was athletic but raw in his 2019 pro debut, but he’s added a lot of polish since then even though he’s still just 20.  He’s still not fully tapping into his lower half to generate power, but his swing mechanics are better, his bat speed is plus, and he has excellent hand-eye coordination.  He’ll need to continue to work on his pitch recognition but he’s starting to look like the all-star the Tigers were hoping for when they drafted him.   

Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels (16). Detmers has made quite the impression in his first pro season (3.60 ERA and 90/17 K/BB in 50 innings while leap-frogging levels and beginning his pro career in Double-A).  Detmers has a polished four-pitch mix including a low-to-mid-90s fastball. He commands well and sets up hitters. An improved slider to go with his plus curve and solid change make him a potential No. 2 or 3 starter.

Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati (26). Greene went from top prospect to Tommy John to afterthought all before he turned 20.  Now, still shy of his 21st birthday, Greene has begun to harness his triple-digit heat and put up dominant numbers at Double-A. He hasn’t had the same success at Triple-A, but he’s now starting to look like the front-line starter that everyone expected when he was drafted second overall in 2017.

Falling

Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto (31). Pearson had a breakout season in 2019 but injuries have slowed him since. When he’s healthy, Pearson has good command of an overpowering fastball that reaches triple digits, a plus slider, and a solid change. He should be at least a No. 2 starter in the majors but repeated injuries have clouded his future.  

Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis (42). In 2019, Liberatore flashed lots of upside as a future No. 3 starter. Two years later his stuff hasn’t improved, and he’s struggled against advanced hitters. He’s still just 21, but he’ll need to sharpen his change or add weapons to reach his potential.   

Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta (44). Waters won the Double-A Southern League batting title and MVP in 2019, but he’s struggled this season at Triple-A. When I saw him in person during All-Star weekend he looked like his balance was out of sync, he was getting too wide in his stance, and he was losing the leverage in his swing. When he’s balanced and in sync, the switch-hitting Waters has above-average raw power from both sides of the plate. If he can regain the balance in his swing and improve his pitch recognition, he still has a lot of upside, but his struggles against advanced pitching raise questions about his future. 

Jordan Groshans, SS, Toronto (45). In 2019, Groshans looked look an advanced hitter with plus power potential and a solid overall skillset. This season it doesn’t appear as though Groshans has developed much since then. He isn’t tapping into his power in games, and he’s looking more average than plus across the board. 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 get himself in sync since. Blisters have also been a persistent problem. When he’s right, he has four pitches, good command, and profiles as a front-line starter. If he can regain the consistency of his delivery he’ll jump back up this list.  

Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta (50). He was brutally overmatched in his big-league debut and hasn’t played well at Triple-A. He’s still an elite center fielder, which means he’ll get lost of chances to improve his offense. Also, he’s just 22 and has the physical tools to be an above-average hitter. In January I wrote that he’d need to improve his plate discipline and refine his swing mechanics. Until he makes progress in those two areas, he’ll struggle.

Graduated (Currently in the majors and/or exceeded rookie 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)

Dropped Out

Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City (26). A rough big-league debut seems to have shaken his confidence.

Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees (30). His stuff regressed, and he’s struggled both in the majors and at Triple-A.

Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota (34). A torn ACL and no track record of success in the high minors leaves him with a lot to prove in 2022.

Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston (38). Tommy John surgery clouds his future.

A.J. Puk, LHP, Oakland (50). Injuries have left Puk with diminished stuff and shaky control.

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Sours: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/fantasy/news/updated-2021-mlb-top-prospects-rankings-rookies-sleepers-fantasy-baseball-dynasty-keeper-leagues/z5fv2s2qp21j168drdhltx4w9
The Top 5 Baseball Rookie Cards I'm Buying In 2021

Prospects and rookies continue to help drive the hobby, and the 2021 baseball card season is no different. At this point, the 2021 RC class might not have the elite star power of previous years, but there are still many key options among the top 2021 MLB rookie cards.

Unlike the NBA and the NFL, official MLB rookie cards bring a bit more uncertainty. This is due to rules that dictate when players can receive the RC designation along with cutoff dates that may push a player's rookies to the following season.

For instance, popular player Wander Franco debuted in June 2021, but his rookie is not expected until the 2022 sets. On the other hand, Randy Arozarena is a notable name for 2021 Rookie of the Year, but his rookie cards arrived in 2020.

Where to Find 2021 Baseball Rookie Cards

Those looking for 2021 MLB rookie cards have no shortage of choices. Topps is the key manufacturer of baseball cards given that the company is the only brand to offer licensed cards with team logos. Panini releases MLBPA-licensed cards without team logos and there are also prospect brands that don't feature any league or team licensing.

Basically a year-round hobby, the baseball card collecting season starts in either January or February and goes until December (or later). Review the releases with full set details and checklists in the 2021 baseball cards guide.

Best 2021 Baseball Rookie Cards Sets to Collect

Naturally, tastes and budgets are different for each collector, but popular brands for rookies generally carry over each year. The flagship trio is an annual favorite, including 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball, 2021 Topps Series 2 Baseball and 2021 Topps Update Series Baseball.

Other popular sets consist of 2021 Topps Heritage Baseball, 2021 Bowman Baseball, and 2021 Bowman Chrome Baseball, which covers rookies and prospects.

Fans also enjoy the shine found in 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball, 2021 Topps Finest Baseball, 2021 Panini Prizm Baseball and 2021 Panini Select Baseball. There are many high-end sets from Topps and Panini, as well.

Of course, the current demand is normally based on the most recent products available. To keep track of this, visit the New Release Calendar.

Curious about other sports? Check out top NBA, NHL and NFL rookie names using our detailed guides.

Top Players

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards To Collect

As collectors know, players rise and fall often and the top 2021 MLB rookie cards may not be clear for several seasons. The list highlights some of the best names right now. Players are listed in order of draft/FA year. Each listing notes the player's MLB draft spot, college (where applicable) and year of birth (YOB).

Alec Bohm - Philadelphia Phillies

2018 Draft: 3rd overall / College: Wichita State / YOB: 1996

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 1

Jonathan India - Cincinnati Reds

2018 Draft: 5th overall / College: Florida / YOB: 1996

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 2

Jarred Kelenic - Seattle Mariners

2018 Draft: 6th overall / College: N/A (High School) / YOB: 1999

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 3

Jo Adell - Los Angeles Angels

2018 Draft: 10th overall / College: Louisville / YOB: 1999

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 4

Alex Kirilloff - Minnesota Twins

2016 Draft: 15th overall / College: N/A (High School) / YOB: 1997

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 5

Dylan Carlson - St. Louis Cardinals

2016 Draft: 33rd overall / College: N/A (High School) / YOB: 1998

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 6

Akil Baddoo - Detroit Tigers

2016 Draft: 74th overall / College: N/A (High School) / YOB: 1998

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 7

Ke'Bryan Hayes - Pittsburgh Pirates

2015 Draft: 32nd overall / College: N/A (High School) / YOB: 1997

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 8

Ryan Mountcastle - Baltimore Orioles

2015 Draft: 36th overall / College: N/A (High School) / YOB: 1997

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 9

Jake Cronenworth - San Diego Padres

2015 Draft: 208th overall / College: Michigan / YOB: 1994

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 10

Jazz Chisholm - Miami Marlins

2015 Draft: Int. FA / College: N/A (Bahamas) / YOB: 1998

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 11

RC Hot List

Most-Watched 2021 Baseball Rookie Cards Hot List

If you want to see some of the hottest 2021 MLB rookie cards at any given moment, check out the real-time list of the most-watched baseball card auctions currently on eBay.

Top 2021 MLB Rookie Cards Guide and Baseball Rookie Card Hot List 12
Sours: https://www.cardboardconnection.com/top-2021-mlb-rookie-cards

2021 rookies top baseball

Ranking the 10 Best Rookies of the 2021 MLB Season so Far

Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

The Texas Rangers can thank their lucky stars no other team showed enough interest in Adolis Garcia this past offseason. 

Garcia, a Rule 5 draft pick, was designated for assignment by the Rangers in February. However, he returned to the club after clearing waivers and has since become a star.

The 28-year-old has scuffled a bit in June after he hit .312 with 11 homers and a .981 OPS in May. However, Garcia still has 18 homers and an .833 OPS with a 126 OPS+. He remains atop the leaderboard in rookie fWAR among qualified players and is tied for the lead (min. 100 PA) in wRC+.

Garcia's power surge in May grabbed everyone's attention. Indeed, he can mash a baseball. He ranks above the 84th percentile in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate while also ranking in the 94th percentile in barrel rate. However, he has also been one of the sport's best defensive center fielders. 

Garcia ranks in the 96th percentile in outs above average and has three defensive runs saved and a 1.3 ultimate zone rating (UZR) in the outfield.

The former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand has serious pop and tremendous defensive instincts and ability. He also has terrific speed, with seven steals on the season. 

Garcia could be a real building block for the Rangers, though his age might not align all that well with their competitive timeline.

Sours: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2945075-ranking-the-10-best-rookies-of-the-2021-mlb-season-so-far
10 BEST ROOKIES in MLB RIGHT NOW

2021 Major League Baseball

Players listed either lost their rookie status as considered by modern standards (< 130 AB, 50 IP or 45 pre-Sept 1 days of service to start season) in this season or if you are looking at the 2021 rookies page then they have not lost their rookie status and are still active professionals.

Note that there are special cases with regards to rookie status, so please let us know if you find a listing you believe to be in error.

RkNameYrsFromToASGWAR/posGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSDebutAgePos SummaryTm
1Cory Abbott12021202100.08330100000001.333.333.333.667Jun 5, 202125/1HCHC
2Albert Abreu22020202100.03000000000000Aug 8, 2020251NYY
3Bryan Abreu32019202100.01000000000000Jul 31, 2019241HOU
4Domingo Acevedo12021202100.0000Jun 21, 202127/1OAK
5Riley Adams12021202100.54712099132281210001540.222.358.384.742Jun 8, 2021252/HTOT
6Joan Adon12021202100.01220000000002.000.000.000.000Oct 3, 202122/1WSN
7Miguel Aguilar12021202100.07000000000000Jul 30, 202129/1ARI
8Keegan Akin22020202100.02220000000002.000.000.000.000Aug 14, 2020261BAL
9R.J. Alaniz22019202100.111220100010001.500.500.5001.000Apr 12, 201930/1CIN
10Sergio Alcantara22020202100.199278241324864618303278.199.296.332.628Sep 6, 2020246/4H51CHC
11A.J. Alexy12021202100.0000Aug 30, 202123/1TEX
12Nick Allgeyer12021202100.0000Jul 2, 202125/1TOR
13Eddy Alvarez22020202100.1361151011419511830734.188.287.287.574Aug 5, 202031/54H6MIA
14Adbert Alzolay3201920210-0.332383612100000115.056.081.083.164Jun 20, 2019261/HCHC
15Trey Amburgey1202120210-0.12440000000002.000.000.000.000Jul 16, 202126/9NYY
16Drew Anderson5201720210-0.18540000000002.000.000.000.000Aug 1, 201727/1TEX
17Ian Anderson2202020210-0.222413702100000129.054.079.081.160Aug 26, 2020231ATL
18Tanner Anderson3201820210-0.18440000000002.000.000.000.000Jul 2, 201828/1HPIT
19John Andreoli2201820210-0.1337467615300420622.224.284.269.552May 23, 201831/79H8DSDP
20Sherten Apostel1202020200-0.5721201210000019.100.143.150.293Sep 12, 202022/35
21Kohei Arihara12021202100.01220000000001.000.000.000.000Apr 3, 202128/1TEX
22Randy Arozarena32019202105.41837036131131693532882261164196.276.360.480.839Aug 14, 20192679/DH8TBR
23Aaron Ashby12021202100.012420000000012.000.333.000.333Jun 30, 202123/1HMIL
24Pedro Avila22019202100.02320000000001.000.000.000.000Apr 11, 201924/1SDP
25Dakota Bacus12020202000.00000000000000Aug 9, 202030/1
26Akil Baddoo12021202102.112446141360107207135518445122.259.330.436.766Apr 4, 20212287/HD9DET
27Brandon Bailey12020202000.00000000000000Jul 26, 202026/1
28Bryan Baker12021202100.0000Sep 5, 202126/1TOR
29Alberto Baldonado12021202100.014000000000000Sep 2, 202128/1WSN
30Joe Barlow12021202100.01000000000000Jun 24, 2021251TEX
31Charlie Barnes12021202100.01110000000001.000.000.000.000Jul 17, 202125/1MIN
32Manny Barreda12021202100.0000Sep 8, 202132/1BAL
33Luis Barrera12021202100.06881200000002.250.250.250.500May 19, 202125/7H98OAK
34Tres Barrera22019202100.4321099382431210001222.258.367.376.743Sep 14, 2019262/HWSN
35José Barrero2202020210-0.545124117823410521443.197.242.248.490Aug 27, 2020236/H84DCIN
36Joey Bart22020202100.3351171091626520800343.239.291.321.612Aug 20, 2020242/HDSFG
37Luis Alexander Basabe12020202000.1918145200012045.143.333.143.476Aug 27, 202024/97H
38Mike Baumann12021202100.0000Sep 7, 202125/1BAL
39Shane Baz12021202100.0000Sep 20, 202122/1TBR
40Eduard Bazardo12021202100.0000Apr 14, 202125/1BOS
41Jeremy Beasley22020202100.00000000000000Aug 11, 202025/1TOR
42David Bednar32019202100.071110000000001.000.000.000.000Sep 1, 2019261PIT
43Seth Beer12021202100.151094410130013.444.500.8891.389Sep 10, 202124/DH3ARI
44Andrew Bellatti22015202100.03000000000000May 9, 201529/1MIA
45Anthony Bender12021202100.056220000000001.000.000.000.000May 5, 2021261/HMIA
46Alec Bettinger12021202100.04110000000001.000.000.000.000May 2, 202125/1MIL
47Phil Bickford22020202100.156330100000002.333.333.333.667Sep 1, 2020251TOT
48Braden Bishop3201920210-0.2479990612200810533.133.188.156.343Mar 21, 201927/879HDSEA
49Travis Blankenhorn2202020210-0.32528264530140018.192.250.423.673Sep 15, 202024/H479TOT
50Scott Blewett22020202100.00000000000000Sep 18, 202025/1KCR
51Ronald Bolanos3201920210-0.15551000010004.000.000.000.000Sep 3, 201924/1KCR
52Skye Bolt2201920210-0.739716766201420218.090.116.164.280May 3, 201927/8H79DTOT
53Akeem Bostick12021202100.01000000000000Jul 29, 202126/1NYM
54James Bourque22019202000.01000000000000May 26, 201927/1
55Ben Bowden12021202100.036000000000000Apr 2, 2021261COL
56Bobby Bradley22019202100.189328290405915017450029119.203.287.431.718Jun 23, 2019253/DHCLE
57Ben Braymer12020202000.00000000000000Aug 28, 202027/1
58Jake Brentz12021202100.161000000000101.000Apr 3, 2021261KCR
59Connor Brogdon22020202100.051000000000000Aug 13, 2020261PHI
60Seth Brown32019202102.0144395361548221320615130114.227.289.468.757Aug 26, 20192897H/3D8OAK
61Justin Bruihl12021202100.0211000000000101.000Aug 8, 202124/1LAD
62Vidal Brujan1202120210-0.61026263200021008.077.077.077.154Jul 7, 202123/4H98D7TBR
63J.B. Bukauskas12021202100.021000000000000Apr 20, 202124/1ARI
64Nick Burdi32018202000.012000000000000Sep 11, 201828/1
65Zack Burdi22020202100.00000000000000Aug 8, 202026/1TOT
66Jake Burger12021202100.4154238510311300415.263.333.474.807Jul 2, 202125/5DHCHW
67Andy Burns22016202100.01922174310000033.176.364.235.599May 9, 201630/H53471LAD
68Beau Burrows22020202100.02000000000000Jul 27, 202024/1TOT
69Edward Cabrera12021202100.06770110010003.143.143.286.429Aug 25, 202123/1MIA
70Daniel Camarena12021202100.16331100140002.333.3331.3331.667Jun 19, 202128/1SDP
71Daz Cameron2202020210-0.652174160203171416701257.194.259.325.584Sep 9, 2020249/8HD7DET
72Paul Campbell1202120210-0.116550000000002.000.000.000.000Apr 3, 202125/1MIA
73Luis Campusano2202020210-0.412423724001200413.108.214.189.403Sep 4, 202022/2HDSDP
74Dylan Carlson22020202103.31847386529016638521813265187.255.328.425.753Aug 15, 20202298/7HSTL
75Drew Carlton12021202100.02000000000000Sep 4, 202125/1DET
76Cody Carroll22018202000.00000000000000Aug 1, 201828/1
77Daniel Castano22020202100.05540000000002.000.000.000.000Aug 8, 202026/1MIA
78Humberto Castellanos22020202100.211761300150001.500.4291.0001.429Aug 4, 202023/1ARI
79Erick Castillo12021202100.14980200000011.250.333.250.583Sep 30, 202128/2HCHC
80Ivan Castillo12021202100.03430100010010.333.500.333.833May 14, 202126/H45SDP
81Anthony Castro22020202100.00000000000000Jul 27, 202026/1TOR
82Kervin Castro12021202100.010000000000000Sep 7, 202122/1SFG
83Rodolfo Castro1202120210-0.4319386917205800627.198.258.395.653Apr 21, 202122/4H5PIT
84Blake Cederlind12020202000.00000000000000Sep 15, 202025/1
85Gilberto Celestino1202120210-0.323625978302300314.136.177.288.466Jun 2, 202122/8H9D7MIN
86Jazz Chisholm22020202102.4145569520781242152059251039164.238.296.413.710Sep 1, 20202346/HMIA
87Nick Ciuffo3201820210-0.221564839201500416.188.259.292.551Sep 3, 201826/2BAL
88Emmanuel Clase22019202100.06000000000000Aug 4, 2019231CLE
89Sam Clay12021202100.054220000000001.000.000.000.000Apr 7, 2021281WSN
90Garrett Cleavinger22020202100.121320110000001.500.5001.0001.500Sep 17, 202027/1LAD
91Ernie Clement12021202100.2401331211628403901719.231.285.339.623Jun 13, 202125/45H76CLE
92Kyle Cody22020202100.00000000000000Aug 21, 202026/1TEX
93Dylan Coleman12021202100.0000Sep 21, 202124/1KCR
94Edwar Colina12020202000.00000000000000Sep 25, 202024/1
95Roansy Contreras12021202100.01000000000000Sep 29, 202121/1PIT
96William Contreras22020202100.156195173193951824001958.225.308.405.712Jul 24, 2020232/HATL
97Jake Cousins12021202100.026000000000000Jun 21, 2021261MIL
98Will Craig2202020210-0.7206964513201300523.203.261.281.542Aug 27, 202026/3HPIT
99Kutter Crawford12021202100.0000Sep 5, 202125/1BOS
100Nabil Crismatt2202020210-0.14311100000000006.000.000.000.000Aug 17, 2020261SDP
101Cooper Criswell12021202100.0000Aug 27, 202124/1LAA
102Garrett Crochet22020202100.02000000000000Sep 18, 2020221CHW
103Hans Crouse12021202100.02110000000001.000.000.000.000Sep 26, 202122/1PHI
104Wil Crowe2202020210-0.227413522100000114.057.108.086.194Aug 22, 202026/1HPIT
105Jesus Cruz12020202000.00000000000000Aug 18, 202026/1
106Oneil Cruz12021202100.12992300130004.333.333.6671.000Oct 2, 202122/6PIT
107Bobby Dalbec22020202100.81565454976312124533942038195.243.308.511.819Aug 30, 2020263/5HD6BOS
108Tucker Davidson2202020210-0.14660000000006.000.000.000.000Sep 26, 202025/1ATL
109Jaylin Davis3201920210-0.7266863510102412318.159.221.270.490Sep 4, 201926/9H7DSFG
110Taylor Davis4201720210-0.122454131010170039.244.289.341.630Sep 8, 201731/2H351PIT
111Ronnie Dawson1202120210-0.13652100000010.200.333.200.533Apr 14, 202126/DHHOU
112Yonathan Daza2201920210-0.415143639833105133233312881.264.314.327.641Apr 9, 2019278H/97COL
113Brett de Geus12021202100.030000000000000Apr 1, 2021231TOT
114Alex De Goti12021202100.12762200010012.333.429.333.762Apr 16, 202126/4HOU
115Bryan De La Cruz12021202101.058219199175972519111853.296.356.427.783Jul 30, 202124/897HMIA
116Jose De Leon52016202100.013980100010003.125.125.125.250Sep 4, 201628/1CIN
117Enyel De Los Santos3201820210-0.143640000000003.000.000.000
Sours: https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/majors/2021-rookies.shtml

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2021 MLB Top Prospects: Ranking the rookies, sleepers to add to your fantasy baseball draft cheat sheets

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While many things about the 2020 season were unique, the flood of prospect talent into the majors represented the continuation of a consistent multi-year trend. Half of last year's preseason Top 50 MLB Prospects saw big-league action despite the shortened campaign, and you can bet there will be plenty more in 2021. That means fantasy baseball owners need a special spot on their draft cheat sheets and rankings (particularly keeper/dynasty rankings) for these potential rookie sleepers.

Last season, Seattle's Kyle Lewis and Chicago's Luis Robert, who finished 1-2 in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, each clubbed 11 home runs, a rate that would have translated to 30 dingers over a full 162-game season. Lewis also swiped nine bags to lead all rookies. Alec Bohm solidified himself as the Phillies’ third baseman of the future by posting a .338 average and a .400 on-base percentage over 44 games. Bohm finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting to Milwaukee's Devin Williams, who used an unhittable changeup to post a 0.33 ERA while striking out an unbelievable 53 batters and giving up just eight hits in 27 relief innings. Cleveland's James Karinchak wasn’t far off Williams’ pace, as he also struck out 53 in 27 innings while giving up just 14 hits.

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A total of 29 rookie pitchers held rotation spots for at least 50 percent of the season, and 11 of those hurlers posted an ERA under 4.00. Kansas City's Brady Singer led rookie pitchers in strikeouts (61), innings pitched (64.1) and games started (12) while posting a solid 4.06 ERA, with Oakland's Jesus Luzardo close behind (4.12 ERA and 59 Ks in 59 IP). Other impact rookies hitters included San Diego's Jake Cronenworth (.285/.354/.477), Detroit's Willi Castro (.349 average and six HRs), Oakland's Sean Murphy (seven HRs and .364 on-base percentage), the Angels' Jared Walsh (.293 average and nine HRs), and the Dodgers' Edwin Rios (eight HRs and .645 slugging). Top pitchers included Houston's Cristian Javier (3.48 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 54.1 IP), Seattle's Justus Sheffield (3.58 ERA over 10 starts), and two rookie hurlers, Dustin May (2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 56 IP) and Tony Gonsolin (2.31 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 46.2 IP), who helped solidify the World Series champion Dodgers’ rotation down the stretch.

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In addition to all the players mentioned above, a number of prospects who retained rookie eligibility and are still on this list made positive first impressions during limited big-league debuts. Tampa's Randy Arozarena, Pittsburgh's Ke’Bryan Hayes, Atlanta's Ian Anderson, Miami's Sixto Sanchez, Texas's Dane Dunning, and Cleveland's Triston McKenzie are among the 20 guys on this list who saw major league action in 2020.

2021 FANTASY SLEEPERS
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The result is a deep pool of big-league ready prospects who promise to make a significant impact in 2021. While prospects have played an increasingly significant part in every season over the past six years, this year could see the largest crop of impact rookies in recent memory.

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2021 MLB Top Prospects

1. Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay. Franco remains the top prospect in baseball despite not seeing any official game action in 2021. He did play at the team’s alternate training site where he got experience against advanced pitching. Franco will turn 21 in March and should make his big-league debut this season. A switching-hitting shortstop who can hit for average and power, he’s an elite offensive talent with outstanding plate discipline and contact skills (83 BB and just 54 K in 768 pro plate appearances). He’ll need to use his lower body more in his righthanded swing to fully unlock his power potential, and defensively he may eventually move to second or third. However, wherever he lines up in the field, his bat is good enough to make him an All-Star.

2. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore. Rutschman has only 130 official pro at-bats under his belt and posted a modest .254 average in his brief 2019 minor-league debut, but he’s a top-tier talent who could be a perennial All-Star backstop. He reportedly performed very well at the team’s alternate training site in '20, and, at 23, has a mature offensive and defensive game. Rutschman is has the potential to hit for power and average and profiles as a plus defender behind the dish. Offensively, Rutschman uses plus bat speed and good lower body explosiveness to generate plus raw power. He also shows good plate discipline, which should allow him to hit for average and get on base at a high rate. The rebuilding Orioles have no incentive to rapidly push him to the majors but we should see him in the bigs at some point in '21.

3. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle. Only 20, Rodriguez already has elite raw power. In 2019, he hit .326 with 12 HRs in 84 games split between Low-A and High-A, then impressed as the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League. Last season, he fractured his wrist in summer camp, returned to form in instructionals, and then got some work in the Dominican Winter League. Rodriguez isn’t a polished hitter and will chase pitches, but he’s a hard worker who should improve his approach as he matures. If he continue to develop, Rodriguez has the potential to bat in the middle of a big-league lineup while slugging 30-plus HRs a year.

4. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami. Sanchez made his big-league debut in 2020 and looked every bit the future ace. Just 22, he showed off a mature, improved physique that helped him pump his fastball up into triple-digits. His electric heater and plus change elicited lots of swing-and-miss, and he got batters to chase out of the zone at an elite rate. Sanchez will open the season in the Miami rotation, and if he can continue to refine his command and sharpen his breaking ball, he’ll quickly reach his ceiling as a No. 1 starter.

5. Jared Kelenic, OF, Seattle. Kelenic had a breakout season in 2019 (.291/.364/.540 with 23 HRs and 20 SBs) and spent '20 facing top quality pitching at the alternative training site. Although he’s just 21, he’s a polished hitter who reached Double-A in '19. Kelenic has plus bat speed and an efficient swing path that generates plus raw power. He also has a strong work ethic and has made steady skill improvement in his short pro career. Kelenic has the potential to hit 25-plus home runs and post a .280 average in the bigs. Don’t be surprised to see him in Seattle in '21.

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6. Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco. Luciano had an electric pro debut as a 17 year old in 2019 (.302 average with 10 HRs and nine SBs in 179 at-bats between Rookie ball and Low-A) and then spent '20 as the youngest player at the Giants’ alternate training site. He’s a long way from the majors, but he’s flashing elite talent, featuring electric bat speed and prodigious power. He’ll need to keep improving to stay at shortstop, but he’s shown a good work ethic and has the raw tools to stick at the six.

7. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego. Gore was probably the best pitcher in the minors in 2019 (1.69 ERA, 135/28 K/BB and just 56 hits allowed in 101 innings between High-A and Double-A) but reportedly showed inconsistent mechanics during his time at the alternate training site in '20. At his best, Gore has good command of four pitches (plus low-to-mid-90s fastball, plus curve, above-average slider, and solid changeup). He mixes his pitches well, attacks hitters, and shows the poise of a front-line starter. The Padres’ stacked rotation means that there’s no need to rush Gore to the majors. However, if he can maintain the consistency of his delivery, he profiles as a No. 1 starter and could make his big-league debut in late '21.

8. CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego. Abrams had a stellar pro debut in 2019 (.393 average and .647 slugging with more stolen bases (15) than strikeouts (14) in 150 at-bats between Rookie ball and Low-A) and then got in significant development work against older competition at the alternate training site in '20. Abrams’ package of plate discipline, contact ability, emerging power, and plus speed make him one of the highest-upside prospects in the minors. He’ll almost certainly spend all of '21 in the minors (barring a trade), but he has the makings of an All-Star shortstop or second baseman at the big-league level.

9. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox. Kopech missed the 2019 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery, then opted out of the 2020 campaign. Kopech has been dominant at every level as a pro and was overpowering in '18 during his first three big-league starts before falling victim to injury in his last outing. When healthy, Kopech dominated hitters with an upper-90s fastball and plus slider. In '18, Kopech had tightened his command and was learning how to attack hitters. Health and potential rust raise questions about his future, but if he return to his pre-injury form, Kopech has the makings of a No. 1 starter.

10. Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox. Madrigal made his big-league debut in 2020 and performed as advertised (.340 average in 103 at-bats). A separated shoulder, which required offseason surgery, will keep him out until possibly April or May. When healthy, Madrigal displays elite contact skills and plus speed. He won’t hit for any power, but he could compete for a batting title while stealing 20-plus bags per season and playing plus defense at second base.

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11. Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta. Anderson was a revelation during a late-season six-start stint with the Braves (1.95 ERA with 41 strikeouts and just 21 hits allowed in 32 innings) and should open the 2021 campaign in the Atlanta rotation. Anderson has a plus change that was virtually unhittable last season, a plus mid-90s fastball, and a solid change. If he can continue to improve his command, he has the stuff to be a No. 2 starter.

12. Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B, Detroit. Torkelson was drafted first overall in 2020 and spent the summer at the alternate training site. A polished hitter with excellent plate discipline and plus-plus power, Torkelson profiles as a middle-of-the-order force with 30-plus HR potential in the majors. His defensive home is a question, though. If he can play third as the Tigers hope, his value increases, but even if he is relegated to first, he still has the bat to be an above-average first baseman.

13. Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto. Pearson had a breakout year in 2019 (2.30 ERA with a 119/27 K/BB and just 63 hits allowed in 101.2 IP between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A), but his command deserted him and he was shut down with elbow soreness in '20 during a rough five-game big-league debut. At his best, Pearson shows good control of an excellent high-90s fastball, a plus slider, and a solid change. His health history is a concern and his sudden loss of command in '20 is worrisome, but he still profiles as at least a No. 2 starter in the majors. He’ll get another shot at big-league success as a staple in the Jays’ rotation this season.

14. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh. Hayes has always been a plus defender, but his offense was limited by his failure to fully use his lower half in his swing. This season he adjusted his balance and finally started to incorporate his hips, leading to a breakout performance during a brief big-league call-up (.376 average with five home runs in 85 at-bats). Hayes approach needs work and he’s still gaining consistency with his new mechanics but he now looks like a guy who could hit .275 with 25 home runs over a full season. He’ll get the chance to show what he can do as the Pirates starting third baseman in 2021.

15. Jasson Dominguez, OF, New York Yankees. Dominguez is just 18 and hasn’t yet played pro ball in the U.S., but he has as much potential as anyone in the game. A switch-hitting center field with plus power and plus speed, Dominguez already has a polished swing path that produces outstanding bat speed from both sides of the plate. He’s a long way from the majors, but he has the tools to be a 30-30 guy.

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16. Luis Patino, RHP, Tampa Bay. Patino put up big numbers in 2019 as a 19 year old (2.57 ERA, 123/38 K/BB and only 69 hits allowed in 94.2 innings mostly at High-A), then had a bumpy big-league debut as a reliever before being traded to the Rays in the offseason. In '20, Patino’s normally solid command deserted him, as he walked 14 in just 17 innings. The Rays are looking to him to pitch at the back end of their rotation in '21 and Patino should right the ship under Tampa’s excellent pitching development program. At his best, Patino has electric stuff, featuring an upper-90’s heater, a sharp slider, and a decent changeup. If Patino can recover his command and find more consistency with his slider, he has all the makings of a No. 2 starter.

17. Spencer Howard, RHP, Philadelphia. Howard was great in 2019 (2.03 ERA with a 94/16 K/BB and only 43 hits allowed in 71 innings over three levels) but then struggled in six big-league starts last season. At his best, Howard has elite stuff including a mid-to-high-90s fastball, a plus change, and a plus breaking ball. In his big-league starts, his fastball was solid but he didn’t command it in the zone and his change, which usually features good sink, was flat and got clobbered. If he can maintain his normal stuff and improve his command, he has the potential to be a No. 2 starter and should be a mainstay in the Phillies rotation this season.

18. Luis Campusano, C, San Diego. Campusano received a surprise call-up in 2020 and wasted no time making an impression, homering in his first contest. A wrist sprain then shelved him for the rest of the season, but he should be good to go for '21. The Padres’ acquisition of Austin Nola means that Campusano will probably spend this season in the minors, but he has the potential to be an All-Star caliber backstop. Campusano was the High-A California League co-MVP in '19. With great balance and leverage, plus bat speed, and excellent plate discipline, Campusano has the tools to hit close to .300, post a high OBP, and slug 20-plus homers in the majors.

19. Casey Mize, RHP, Detroit .Mize was outstanding in 2019 (2.55 ERA, 106/23 K/BB and just 80 hits allowed in 109.1 innings split between High-A and Double-A) but then struggled in seven big-league starts in '20. Mize has three plus pitches (nasty splitter, mid-90s fastball, and sharp slider), but his stuff was flat, with merely average movement and spin. At his best, he shows excellent command, a repeatable delivery, and an ability to mix pitches. If he can regain his sharpness and reassert his command, Mize has the potential to be a frontline starter, but his disappointing debut cast some doubt on his ultimate upside.

20. Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis. Carlson had a breakout 2019 campaign (.292 average and .372 on-base percentage with 26 HRs and 20 SBs in a season spent mostly at Double-A) and then struggled in an initial big-league cameo before being demoted and eventually turning things around after a second promotion. His hot finish should make him the favorite to start in left field for St. Louis this season. The switch-hitting Carlson has a bit more power from the left side, but he shows good bat speed and excellent hand-eye coordination from both sides. With solid pitch recognition and plus raw power, Carlson has the potential to hit .275 with 20-plus home runs over a full season in the bigs.

2021 FANTASY SLEEPERS
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Pitcher | Each Team

21. Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit. Manning was outstanding at Double-A in 2019 (2.56 ERA and 148/38 K/BB in 133.2 innings) but was reportedly shut down with fatigue in '20 after spending part of the summer at the alternate training site. Despite his age (23) and pro success, he’s still very much a work in progress. The lanky righthander has an electric mid-90s fastball, a plus curve, and a developing change. He also mixes in a slider and shows good control but his stuff can be inconsistent. The Tigers have no reason to rush him to the majors and should give him the chance to refine his stuff and improve his consistency in the minors this season. Long-term, he has the tools to be a No. 2 starter.

22. Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Chicago White Sox. Vaughn had a modest pro debut in 2019 (.278 with six HRs in 205 at-bats in Rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A) but impressed at the alternate training site last season while showing he could handle advanced pitching. Vaughn also gained some experience at third base and in the outfield, which could open up more avenues to the bigs for him in '21. Overall, Vaughn is a polished hitter with a compact stroke and good plate discipline. He should hit for a decent average and draw plenty of walks. If he can better use his lower body to create leverage and loft in his swing, he has the bat speed to hit for above-average power.

23. Triston McKenzie, RHP, Cleveland. McKenzie has always had good stuff, but he had a hard time staying healthy and his slight frame raised questions about his long-term role. McKenzie quieted the critics in 2020 with an eye-opening big-league debut (3.24 ERA and 42 strikeouts and a .179 BAA in 33 innings). McKenzie now enters the season with a chance to stick in the Cleveland rotation. The slender righthander has above-average command of four pitches: High-spin low-90s fastball, plus curve, improved slider, and solid change. If he can stay healthy, he has the stuff to be a No. 2 starter.

24. Joey Bart, C, San Francisco. Bart had a rough big-league debut in 2020 (.233 and no HRs in 103 at bats), but he’ll probably get more minor league development time in '21 and still projects as an above-average big-league backstop. Bart is an above-average defender and has shown a good work ethic as a pro. He was off-balance at the plate in '20 which resulted in weak contact against fastballs. He also chased breaking balls at a high rate, leading to an elevated strike out total. If he can settle down and regain his balance, there’s no reason he can’t eventually hit for a solid average while clubbing 25-plus home runs over a full season.

25. Logan Gilbert, RHP, Seattle. Gilbert had an excellent 2019 (2.13 ERA and 165/33 K/BB in 135 innings combined between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A), then impressed at the team’s alternate training site last year. Going into '20, Gilbert already had good command of a polished four-pitch repertoire (mid-90s fastball, solid slider, plus curve, improved change) but reportedly made strides with both command and stuff and now profiles as No. 2 starter. Gilbert will probably begin the season in the minors but should be in line for a big-league call-up by midseason.

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: 2021 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet

26. Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City. Lynch was a solid prospect in college, but he’s developed into one of the best lefthanded pitching prospects in baseball. He performed well in 2019 (3.10 ERA in 15 starts at High-A) and then wowed at the alternate training site in '20. Lynch now sports an impressive four-pitch mix featuring a dynamic mid-90s fastball and a plus slider. He’ll probably open the season in Double-A and could compete for a big-league rotation spot by mid-season. Long-term, he now projects as a No. 2 starter.

27. Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay. Arozarena was a postseason force during the Rays’ World Series run and now looks like a budding star. His electric bat speed produces elite exit velocity, and his good balance and direct swing path provide the leverage for his plus raw power. He’ll need to show he can hit breaking balls more consistently, but he already has the tools to hit .270 with 25-plus home runs. If can continue to improve against benders, he could be even better.

28. Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers. Ruiz was on the fast track to the bigs when he had a forgettable 2019 campaign and was overtaken on the Dodgers' depth chart by Will Smith. He then spent the majority of '20 at the alternate site and got a brief big-league cameo in which he belted a home run in his first at-bat. The lost season may have been a blessing in disguise for Ruiz, who was able to refine his hitting mechanics with L.A.’s first-rate hitting coaches while also working to improve his fringy defensive skills. Ruiz may not get an opportunity in L.A., but he should eventually be a major-league regular whose excellent plate discipline and good hand-eye coordination should allow him to hit for average and get on base at a high clip. If he can improve his defense and improve his currently average power, he could be an All-Star.

29. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona. Carroll had a good pro debut in 2019 after being selected in the first round (.299/.409/.487 with 18 stolen bases in 154 at-bats between Rookie ball and Low-A) and then opened eyes at the alternate training site in '20. Just 20, Carroll already has good plate discipline and emerging power. With plus speed and good defensive chops in center field, Carroll has all the tools to be an above-average big leaguer. He’ll probably begin the season at High-A, but he eventually could be a 20-20 guy who hits for average in the bigs.

30. Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees. Garcia made his big-league debut last year, and at 21, he enters the season with a shot to stick in the Yankees rotation this year. Garcia has a four-pitch mix, including a plus curve, a lively low 90s fastball, a solid change and a developing slider. Garcia’s curve wasn’t that sharp during his six major league starts, but his fastball was an effective weapon. If he can regain the normal bite on his curve while continuing to refine his changeup and improve his command, he has the potential to be a No. 2 or 3 starter.

MLB PROSPECTS: Top Hitters | Top Pitchers

31. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota. Kirilloff has battled injuries throughout his pro career, but when healthy he’s a polished hitter with above-average power. He made his big-league debut in the 2020 postseason and will compete for a starting outfield spot in '21. Kirilloff shows good pitch recognition and the bat speed to handle plus velocity. His smooth swing path and great balance allow him to drive the ball to all fields. Long-term, he has the potential to hit for average and stroke 20-plus HRs while playing a solid corner outfield in the bigs.

32. Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets. Just 19, Alvarez is already an advanced hitter with the potential to be an offensive force. In 2019, he hit .312 with seven home runs in 157 at-bats at Rookie ball and then performed well against much older competition at the alternate training site. He needs to improve defensively to stick at catcher, but he has the tools to be the rare backstop to hit for both average and power in the bigs.

33. Emerson Hancock, RHP, Seattle. Hancock was drafted sixth overall in 2020 and saw limited action at the alternate training site. Hancock isn’t a finished product – his fastball can be flat, he could improve his command, and his breaking stuff isn’t always consistent – but he has the ceiling of a No. 1 or 2 starter. Hancock has solid command of a four-pitch mix, runs his fastball up to the high 90s, and gets good extension which allows his stuff to jump on hitters. He’ll almost certainly spend all of '21 in the minors, but given Seattle’s excellent pitching development program, he could be fronting the Mariners rotation as early as '22.

34. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota. Lewis has seen his star fade since being drafted first overall in 2017. He remains a top prospect, but inconsistencies in his swing have raised questions about his ability to hit advanced pitching. Lewis doesn’t always control his lower body, which makes it hard for him to adjust to different pitch speeds. At his best, he shows plus bat speed and average power (in '19 he hit .353 and won the MVP award in the Arizona Fall League). Lewis is also a plus runner who should swipe 20-plus bags a year and play above-average defense at shortstop. He got valuable developmental work at the alternate training site in '20 and should open the season at Double-A. Just 21, Lewis has plenty of time to reach his potential as an above-average big-league shortstop who will hit for average and moderate power.

35. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore. Rodriguez had a stellar 2019 campaign (2.68 ERA, 129/36 K/BB and just 57 hits allowed in 94 innings at Low-A) and then spent '20 at the alternate training site, where he gained experience against advanced hitters. With solid command of a plus mid-90s fastball, above-average change, and decent slider, Rodriguez could be a No. 2 or 3 starter. He’ll probably open the season at High-A and will likely spend all of '21 in the minors.

36. Asa Lacy, LHP, Kansas City. Lacy was drafted fourth overall in 2020 and saw time at the alternate training site. A polished college hurler with a smooth, repeatable delivery and an excellent four-pitch mix, Lacy has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. His mid-90s fastball and sharp slider are his best weapons, and his pitches seem to tunnel well. He’ll make his pro debut in '21 and could move quickly given his advanced stuff and overall polish.

37. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit. Greene had a solid pro debut in 2019 after being drafted fifth overall. He spent '20 at the alternate training site and should open this season at High-A. Green is still a work in progress, but he flashes plus bat speed and above-average power. He’ll need to show he can handle advanced pitching and continue to refine his approach, but he has the tools to be an above-average corner outfielder who hits for average and some power.

38. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston. Whitley has been inconsistent as a pro and was shut down with arm soreness at the alternate training site last summer. At his best, Whitley shows elite potential, featuring a lively mid-90s fastball, plus curve, and solid command. At other times, his delivery has looked out of snyc and his stuff has been average. If he can show greater consistency, he has the stuff to be a front-line starter. Already 23, if Whitley can make progress in 2021 he could find himself in the Houston rotation before the year is over.

39. Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta. Pache made a brief big-league debut in late 2020 and quickly showed that he is already one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. At 22, he’s now poised to open the season in the Braves regular lineup. Although he’s already an elite defender, Pache is still a work in progress offensively. He has good bat speed and solid raw power, but he sometimes loses his balance at the plate and doesn’t have a consistent swing path. If he can continue to improve his plate discipline and refine his swing mechanics, he has the strength and bat speed to hit for average and moderate power in the majors.

40. Max Meyer, RHP, Miami. Meyer was selected third overall in the 2020 draft and made a brief appearance at the alternate training site. Meyer has yet to throw an official pro pitch, but he’s already an advanced pitcher with a smooth delivery and above-average command of three pitches (a devastating plus slider, an explosive high 90s fastball, and a developing change). His stuff profiles as a No. 2 or 3 starter, and if his change improves, he could even be a No. 1.

41. Tarik Skubal, LHP, Detroit. Skubal had a breakout 2019 (2.42 ERA, 179/37 K/BB and just 87 hits allowed in 122 innings split between High-A and Double-A) but suffered an underwhelming big-league debut in '20 (5.63 ERA in 32 innings). Despite his struggles, he still showed flashes of his potential as a No. 3 starter. His slider and changeup missed bats and he sat mid-90s with his high-spin fastball. If he can tighten his command and refine his curve, he should be effective pitching in the middle of the Tigers’ rotation in '21.

42. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis. Liberatore had a solid showing at Low-A in 2019 (3.10 ERA and just two HRs allowed in 78 innings) and then impressed club officials with his development at the alternate training site in '20. Liberatore’s best pitch is a plus curve, but his fastball has improved and shows riding life in the low-to-mid 90s. Despite his age (21), he’s already a polished hurler who mixes his pitches well, shows good command, and avoids hard contact. He’ll probably open the season at High-A and won’t be in the majors anytime soon, but he has a good chance of reaching his potential as a No. 3 starter.

43. Nick Gonzales, SS, Pittsburgh. Despite being drafted seventh overall in 2020, Gonzales doesn’t get the hype of some other recent college middle infield draftees but he has the potential to hit for average, show above average power, and steal 15-plus bags in the bigs. Gonzales has a compact swing and great balance, which produce plus bat speed and an ability to hit to all fields. Defensively he saw time at both shortstop and second, but he profiles better at the keystone. He’ll probably spend all of '21 in the minors, but his polished bat could get him to the majors in early '22.

44. Dane Dunning, RHP, Texas. Dunning had a good big-league debut in 2020 (3.97 ERA, 35 strikeouts and .197 BAA in 34 innings) before being traded to Texas in the offseason. He’ll open this year as a candidate for a rotation spot with the Rangers and has the potential to be a No. 3 starter. Dunning is mostly a sinker/slider guy who mixes in a fringy four-seamer and average change, but the sinker/slider is good enough that even if his other pitches don’t develop, he should be a successful big-league starter.

45. Jordan Groshans, SS, Toronto. Groshans lost most of 2019 to injury but hit well when he was healthy, then impressed at the alternate training site where he eased doubts about his ability to stick at shortstop. Groshans has plus power and the swing path to hit for average. He shows solid plate discipline and the ability to make adjustments at the plate. He’ll need to stay healthy and become more consistent with his balance and approach, but he has the potential to be an above-average offensive shortstop.

46. Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta. Waters won the Double-A Southern League batting title and MVP in 2019, then spent last season at the alternate training site. The switch-hitting Waters has above-average raw power from both sides of the plate, but he’ll need to improve his pitch recognition to hit for average in the bigs. He reportedly worked on his plate discipline and approach this season, and he’s shown the ability to make adjustments as a pro. He’ll likely begin the season at Triple-A, where he’ll work to show that he can make enough contact to reach his ceiling as a power-speed threat in the bigs.

47. Edward Cabrera, RHP, Miami. Cabrera can reach triple digits with his fastball, but unlike most young flamethrowers he also has solid command and a three-pitch mix. He had a breakout year in 2019 (2.23 ERA and 116/31 K/BB in 97 innings between High-A and Double-A) but dealt with injuries at the alternate training site and didn’t see any big-league time in '20. If he can stay healthy and continue to improve his change, Cabrera could make the Miami rotation sometime this season and eventually could be a No. 3 starter.

48. Garrett Crochet, LHP, Chicago White Sox. Crochet debuted as a big-league reliever only months after being drafted 11th overall, then wowed with a triple-digit fastball that he used to strike out eight and walk none in six scoreless innings. He was shut down with forearm tightness but should be healthy this spring. Crochet is a bit of a wild card because right now he’s mostly a two-pitch guy (fastball/slider) who has not proven that he can start as a professional. However, triple-digit, left-handed fastballs don’t grow on trees, and so far no big leaguer has shown that he can hit Crochet’s fastball. Is he a No. 1 starter or a late-inning reliever? Either way, if he stays healthy, he could quickly be back in Chicago.

49. Ryan Mountcastle, OF, Baltimore. I’ve seen Mountcastle numerous times over the years, and I've always liked him as a prospect more than I feel I should. He swings at too many pitches and isn’t a good defender, but he has a great swing path and excellent balance which produces plus bat speed and consistent hard contact. Now that he’s shown what he can do at the big-league level (.333 and five home runs in 126 at-bats), it’s time to give in and put him on my Top 50. He can be a little too much on his front foot sometimes, which saps his power, but he has the skills to hit for a decent average and solid power despite his free-swinging ways. If he can be more selective and stay back a little more, he could even be an elite hitter.

50. A.J. Puk, LHP, Oakland. In 2019 Puk pitched well out of the Oakland bullpen during a late-season call-up (3.18 ERA, 13/5 K/BB in 11.1 innings), but he missed '20 with a shoulder strain that required offseason surgery. When healthy, Puk has shown electric stuff, including a high 90s fastball and a plus slider. On stuff alone, he’s an elite prospect. The problem is, he hasn’t been healthy, and shoulder surgeries tend to be harder to overcome than elbow issues (which he’s also had). Oakland will likely treat him cautiously this spring, but, if healthy, he’ll definitely play a big-league role, either as a mid-rotation guy or a late-inning reliever. Long term, If he can regain his pre-injury form, Puk profiles as a No. 2 starter.

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Sours: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/fantasy/news/2021-mlb-top-prospects-rankings-rookies-sleepers-fantasy-baseball-draft-cheat-sheets/rieef9810and14p6lmcu57mjz


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