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Brendan Tuma’s Prospect Report: Wander Franco, Bobby Witt, Shane Baz (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Jun 30, 2021

Bobby Witt Jr. remains a locked-in, top-five prospects in dynasty leagues.

After covering my top-10 prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft last Wednesday, we’re going back to the basics this week. The minor leagues have been in full swing for nearly two months now. We’ve had a ton of graduations already at the big league level too, which is giving us plenty of opportunities to discuss some newcomers on the below list.

We’ve had three graduations since my last prospect report — Ke’Bryan Hayes, Alex Kirilloff, and Logan Gilbert. So if you’re wondering why you don’t see them below, that’s why.

Lastly, a note that my top seven prospects have remained unchanged all year long. For fantasy purposes I think we have a clear tier with this group, Franco through Luciano. There has been a lot more movement after that bunch throughout 2021.

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

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1 (1) Wander Franco SS TB The MLB debut was thrilling, but he slowed down over the weekend. Zero reason to panic.
2 (2) Jarred Kelenic OF SEA Five homers in 17 games since being sent down, but still searching for consistency in Triple-A. Don’t sell in dynasty.
3 (3) Julio Rodriguez OF SEA Promoted to Double-A after batting .325/.410/.581 in 28 games for High-A Everett. In line to become No. 1 prospect once Franco/Kelenic graduate.
4 (4) Spencer Torkelson 1B DET Slugging right-handed bat has been on fire since getting off to a slow start to his pro career. Buy-low window slammed shut.
5 (5) Bobby Witt SS KC Expecting a promotion to Triple-A soon. 12 homers, 12 steals, and an .894 OPS in 44 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
6 (6) C.J. Abrams SS SD Not hitting for power in Double-A but could be a fantasy star due to a high batting average and plus-plus speed.
7 (7) Marco Luciano SS SF Doesn’t turn 20 until September but the ceiling is sky high. Not a lock to remain at shortstop, but the 70-grade power will play anywhere.
8 (9) Adley Rutschman C BAL Looking like a strong bet to debut in late-April, 2022.
9 (11) Vidal Brujan 2B/OF TB Batting just .160 in June, which has slowed his timeline to the big leagues. The speed will ensure he’s fantasy relevant during slumps in the majors.
10 (12) Triston Casas 1B BOS A young Votto, Casas remains the most underrated fantasy prospect IMO.
11 (13) Alek Manoah SP TOR Still learning how to “pitch” in the big leagues. Has just 15 starts as a professional baseball player, which is hilarious.
12 (14) Grayson Rodriguez SP BAL Checking every box we want to see at Double-A Bowie.
13 (15) Austin Martin SS/OF TOR Still isn’t setting the world on fire, but he’s been much better in June.
14 (16) Jo Adell OF LAA Still striking out 31.5% of the time in Triple-A. Just a 6.0% BB rate. Just one homer since June 7th.
15 (18) Noelvi Marte SS SEA 19-year-old having a very strong season in Low-A.
16 (19) Jarren Duran OF BOS Big league promotion could happen any week now. I 100% expect it to happen before the Olympics begin (July 28th).
17 (20) Jasson Dominguez OF NYY Florida Complex Leagues have officially begun, which means we’ll finally start tracking stats for “The Martian.”
18 (NR) Shane Baz SP TB 14 IP, 1.29 ERA, and a 20:3 K:BB since being promoted to Triple-A.
19 (NR) Robert Hassell OF SD The time to get in early on Hassell is now. Padres’ 2020 first-rounder is checking all the boxes in Low-A.
20 (NR) Riley Greene OF DET I’ve been lower than consensus on Greene for a while, but he’s heating up over the past two weeks in Double-A.

Honorable Mentions

OF Garrett Mitchell, MIL: An advanced college bat, Mitchell is dominating in High-A (as he should). I’m ready to see what he’s capable of in Double-A.

OF Alek Thomas, ARI: Probably one of the more underrated fantasy prospects. Make sure he’s rostered in your dynasty leagues.

SP Sixto Sanchez, MIA: Latest update is he’s throwing from 120 feet. Really hope we see him in the big leagues for half a dozen starts to close the season.

SP Cade Cavalli, WAS: Sky rocketing up the starting pitcher prospect ranks. 2020 first-rounder has 88 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A this year.

3B Nolan Gorman, STL: Lefty slugger was recently promoted to Triple-A and could debut late this season. Blocked at the hot corner by Nolan Arenado, Gorman has been playing a good amount of second base as of late.

On the Rise

OF Robert Hassell, SD: Taken No. 8 overall in 2020, Hassell was widely considered the top high school hitter in last summer’s draft. Possessing a pretty, lefty swing, Hassell is easily able to barrel up balls while having good plate discipline for his age. Pre-draft concerns with Hassell centered around his lean frame, but I’m always willing to bet on youngsters with natural hitting abilities. The mainstream media has yet to catch up with Hassell’s encouraging pro debut. The time to buy him is now.

On the Way Down

SP MacKenzie Gore, SD: Ugh. So we know the story on Gore by now. He dominated High-A back in 2019 and was anointed the best pitching prospect in baseball, but the Padres never called him up in 2020, which was odd. We later learned that he was struggling with the consistency of his windup that featured a high leg kick. Glowing scouting reports pointed to Gore’s athleticism as a reason he could maintain such a funky delivery, but in hindsight that was too optimistic.

The southpaw was struggling in Triple-A to start the year. Then he missed three weeks with a blister issue. He struggled some more in two starts since returning . Now he’s been sent to Arizona to allow the blister to fully heal and to continue working on his delivery. If you can sell (reasonably) low, go for it.

Stat of the Week

Over his past 23 games Bobby Witt is batting .344 with eight homers, six stolen bases, and just a 20.0% K%. In his first 21 games of the season he had a 30.9% K%. Swing-and-miss has always been the thing to worry about with Witt. Gains!

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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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