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Brendan Tuma’s Prospect Report: Alek Manoah, Sixto Sanchez, Jo Adell (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
May 26, 2021

As promised we have a new top-20 prospect list this week. The minor leagues have been up and running since early-May and there has been a lot to digest. This is usually the case, but it’s especially true after COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 season altogether. To put it simply – we had a lot of catching up to do with these players.

So yes, someone like Alek Manoah wasn’t a top-100 prospect entering 2021. Now he might be the best pitching prospect in baseball. Add in all the recent graduations and suddenly the world of prospect rankings has a “Wild West” feel to it. It’s unlikely that we have much of a consensus around the industry at the moment.

Note that last week’s ranking the in the left most column (LW) is actually from three weeks ago, which is the last time my Prospect Report featured this table. Since then we had a few more players graduate from prospect status – Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech, and Luis Patino. This helped elevate some newcomers.

Lastly, be aware that with all the moving parts I’ve mentioned in this into that it’s going to take another month or two for things to settle down and for us to realize which early-season gains are legit. But for now, let’s dive in.

Reminder to reach out with questions on Twitter anytime – @toomuchtuma.

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RANK (LW) NAME POS TEAM NOTES
1 (1) Wander Franco SS TB The Willy Adames trade didn’t lead to an immediate promotion, but it still helped clear the path. Be patient. He’ll be worth the wait.
2 (2) Jarred Kelenic OF SEA Couldn’t be less concerned with the slow start to his big league career. He’ll make the necessary adjustments.
3 (3) Julio Rodriguez OF SEA Enters Tuesday night hitting .303 with a .983 OPS for High-A Everett. A promotion to Double-A should be coming soon.
4 (4) Spencer Torkelson 1B DET Last year’s No. 1 pick is off to a slow start, but I won’t move him down my rankings unless it continues for another month.
5 (5) Bobby Witt Jr. SS KC We probably got carried away with how quickly he could arrive in the majors, but he remains a player to bet on long-term.
6 (8) CJ Abrams SS SD His hot start pushes him above Luciano for me. The Padres are mostly using him at shortstop still. Some second base. Zero outfield thus far.
7 (6) Marco Luciano SS SF The raw tools are just exceptional. I’ll remain very high on him as long as the production is there by season’s end.
8 (9) Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B PIT Finally on a rehab assignment from his early-April wrist injury. Expect him back in early-June.
9 (13) Alex Kirilloff OF MIN Doesn’t necessarily have the upside of some of the below names, but he’s proving that he can hit in the big leagues. There’s value in that.
10 (10) Adley Rutschman C BAL The consensus No. 1 catching prospect in baseball.
11 (18) Jo Adell OF LAA Six home runs in five games entering Tuesday night. Only six strikeouts in past six games. I hope the Angels keep him in Triple-A for a while longer.
12 (NR) Alek Manoah SP TOR There will never be a better time to sell, but personally I’m just holding onto the shares I acquired on the cheap this spring.
13 (NR) Vidal Brujan 2B/OF TB Similar to Franco his time should come any day now. A thrilling power/speed fantasy asset who has skyrocketed up rankings this year.
14 (NR) Triston Casas 1B BOS Elite power hitter with an advanced approach at the plate, Casas is the most underrated prospect in fantasy IMO.
15 (NR) Noelvi Marte SS SEA 19-year-old has answered all the questions we had about him by hitting .347/.427/.569 entering Tuesday.
16 (16) Jasson Dominguez OF NYY Yankees decided to keep him in extended spring training for now. Still just 18 years old, Dominguez has yet to appear in a professional game.
17 (19) Logan Gilbert SP SEA Has a case to be considered the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball.
18 (14) Austin Martin SS/OF TOR Off to a slow start in Double-A, but we still have reason to be excited about his hit tool and approach.
19 (15) Sixto Sanchez SP MIA Injury concerns will linger until he puts together a complete workload at the big league level. Should be ready for minor league games soon.
20 (12) MacKenzie Gore SP SD If I could trade him for the value he had entering 2021, I’d do it. His stock is falling but don’t sell just to sell. Ugly 5.94 ERA and 1.80 WHIP thus far.

Honorable Mentions

OF Corbin Carroll, ARI: Season-ending shoulder injury took the air of his exceptional start to the ’21 campaign. Now might be the perfect time to buy him in dynasty leagues.

OF Jarren Duran, BOS: The highlights are tantalizing but the Red Sox still want to see him smooth out the rough edges of his game. I hope to see him at Fenway Park by the end of June. We need to monitor his contact rate.

OF Jesus Sanchez, MIA: 23-year-old flopped in a 10-game sample with the Marlins last summer. He rebounded and is hitting a laughable .469/.500/.938 (!!) in Triple-A this spring.

C Francisco Alvarez, NYM: 19-year-old was recently promoted to High-A after hitting .417/.567/.646 in 15 games to begin the season with Low-A St. Lucie.

OF Riley Greene, DET: Turning it around in a big way following a slow start in Double-A.

On the Rise

SP Hunter Greene, CIN: The 21-year-old former No. 2 overall pick is another pitcher who has skyrocketed up my rankings this season. He underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2019, and many of us more or less ignored him for a couple of season. However, his fastball velocity is definitely back, and the results have been exceptional.

Through four starts in Double-A Greene has a 1.69 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings pitched. Double-A was a decently tough assignment for a pitcher with his background, but he has rewarded the Reds thus far. We need to keep monitoring the walks, but a promotion to Triple-A could occur by the end of the summer. Greene needs to be rostered in every dynasty league again.

On the Way Down

OF JJ Bleday, MIA: A solid, all-around player who was the fourth overall pick in 2019, Bleday is off to a slow start in his first taste of Double-A action. Entering Wednesday he’s hitting just .149 with a .511 SLG and one homer. This is a player who entered ’21 with an outside shot at debuting later this season. Barring an immediate turnaround it doesn’t look as if that’ll happen, though.

Bleday isn’t a sell candidate based off 19 games. I just wanted to mention him, because if he hit the ground running he very likely would’ve been inside my top-20. Instead, he’ll need to show some adjustments before he can be considered for that range of top prospects.

Stat of the Week

Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach didn’t make my top-20 or even the honorable mention section, but I wanted to find a way to highlight what he’s been doing in the majors. The surface level numbers don’t pop, but a closer look under the hood suggests he’s due for some positive regression in the near future.

  • 98th percentile max exit velocity
  • .315 wOBA / .361 xwOBA
  • .200 BA / .239 xBA
  • .380 SLG / .477 xSLG

The 24-year-old has never profiled as a superstar, but he should have better numbers than he currently does. He’s especially valuable in OBP leagues since his on-base skills have translated to the major league level. Oh, and both of his homers have come against lefties.

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Brendan Tuma is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, check out his archive and follow him @toomuchtuma.

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