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Brendan Tuma’s Prospect Report: Spencer Torkelson, Anthony Volpe, Shane Baz (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Aug 20, 2021

MLB Pipeline released a massive overhaul to their Top 100 prospect list earlier this week, which could lead to some upheaval in your dynasty league. As much as I trust my personal rankings, it’s undeniable that sites like MLB Pipeline and Baseball America help control to prospect market in most leagues. That doesn’t mean we should use them blindly, of course. For one, they don’t even rank for fantasy purposes.

Yet it would be irresponsible for me to not take their lists into account. After all, their writers are sharp and have fantastic access to personnel from big league teams. By this time next week I’ll also be completing an update to my Top 100. For now, here’s what we’re working with.

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1 (1) Julio Rodriguez OF SEA Hitting .279 with an .873 OPS in 17 games since being promoted to Double-A. The eruption is coming.
2 (2) Bobby Witt Jr. SS KC Batting .283 with a .954 OPS in 25 games at Triple-A. Would be must-add in redraft if he winds up getting the call in ’21.
3 (3) Spencer Torkelson 1B/3B DET Detroit has said he won’t reach the majors this year, but he’s now in Triple-A. At the time of his promotion he played 38 games at 1B and 43 at 3B. Interesting!
4 (4) Marco Luciano SS SF “Thunderous” is the word that comes to mind when I think about his bat-to-ball abilities.
5 (5) Adley Rutschman C BAL The No. 1 prospect for both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline now. I get it. For fantasy purposes, I just prefer my top four more.
6 (6) C.J. Abrams SS SD Don’t overreact to the season-ending injury. Long-term upside is immense.
7 (7) Noelvi Marte SS SEA MLB Pipeline ranked him 11th overall after he was outside the top 100 to begin the season.
8 (8) Riley Greene OF DET Went 13-for-26 with four homers in six games leading up to his Triple-A promotion.
9 (9) Brennen Davis OF CHC Hasn’t been an efficient base stealer in Double-A but has all the tools of a future fantasy star.
10 (12) Grayson Rodriguez SP BAL The consensus top pitching prospect in baseball.
11 (10) Triston Casas 1B BOS His season-long stats don’t wow you, but the eye test does. Has performed better since returning from Olympics.
12 (11) Vidal Brujan 2B/OF TB Has hit .354 with 12 stolen bases in 20 games since being optioned to Triple-A. Zero homers during this span.
13 (13) Jasson Dominguez OF NYY Hitting .237 with a 33 K% in 25 games for Low-A Tampa. Doesn’t turn 19 until next February.
14 (NR) Anthony Volpe SS NYY The mainstream prospect media is hyping him as an elite prospect (No. 15 overall for MLB Pipeline) — it’s time to match that excitement.
15 (14) Jarren Duran OF BOS The immediate impact hasn’t been there, but the power/speed combo is still a building block for long-term fantasy success.
16 (16) Francisco Alvarez C NYM Shockingly, MLB Pipeline ranked him No. 10 overall.
17 (17) Cade Cavalli SP WAS The “stuff” is breathtaking, but a walk rate north of 14% in Double-A just isn’t going to fly.
18 (18) Shane Baz SP TB Has pitched just once since returning from the Olympics. I’m still curious if we see him out of the bullpen for the Rays down the stretch.
19 (NR) Marcelo Mayer SS BOS The clear 1.01 for me in first year player drafts this offseason.
20 (15) Austin Martin OF MIN Hitting just .245 with a .367 SLG in 14 games since the trade. He gets on base at a good clip, but still isn’t impacting the ball. Might drop him more next week.

Honorable Mentions

OF Robert Hassell, SD: A bet on Hassell is a bet on projecting the power to come. Otherwise, the offensive profile checks all my boxes.

OF Zac Veen, COL: 2020 first-rounder has torn up the minor leagues since a slow start to the season. Colorado’s questionable player development reputation lingers in the back of my mind.

SP Reid Detmers, LAA: Produced the best start of his big league career this past weekend against the Astros.

OF Hedbert Perez, MIL: 18-year-old is a long ways away from reaching the majors, but he’s impressing at the Arizona Complex League in a big way. Consider him a savvy add for dynasty league players looking to get in early on a potential top-20 prospect down the line.

SS/3B Reginald Preciado, CHC: A similar case to Perez, Preciado is passing the eye test with flying colors out in Arizona. The 19-year-old was acquired in the Yu Darvish trade over the offseason, and he has an extremely lofty ceiling should everything click.

On the Rise

SP George Kirby, SEA: The young right-hander has made it to Double-A this season despite workload limitations put in place by the Mariners. A control specialist with developing “stuff”, Kirby could become an elite pitching prospect by early next year.

On the Way Down

SP MacKenzie Gore, SD: Once considered the top pitching prospect in baseball, Gore has had a disastrous couple of years of development. We learned that he was struggling with the consistency of his delivery at last year’s alternate training site. Then he struggled to begin the ’21 season in Triple-A before being shut down for a blister issue in June (as well as trying to fix those mechanical issues).

Incredibly, Gore is now heading to the ACL (rookie ball) to pitch . MLB Pipeline dumped Gore down to No. 62 overall in their recent midseason update.

Stat of the Week

Another reason to buy into Volpe as “the guy” to buy into right now is that he leads all mid-level (A/A+) minor leaguers with a 174 wRC+. When you watching him play he’s just an easy one to root for.

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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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