Now that we’ve completed the 2021 prospect rankings and scouting reports let’s talk about the list and what we think about where players landed, and predict the future a little.

Justin LadaWillie HoodJoe Coblitz
Sleeper prospectMason HickmanTrevor StephanJesus Maestre
Breakout prospectRichie PalaciosNick MikolajchakRay Burgos
Prospect bustScott MossScott MossKyle Nelson
Most excited to seeDaniel EspinoDaniel EspinoDaniel Espino
Most concerned aboutAaron BrachoCody MorrisJulian Escobedo
Biggest riserNick MikolajchakAngel MartinezCarlos Vargas
Expect to fallJean Carlos MejiaJ.C. MejiaWill Benson
Name to watch not on our rankingsTim HerrinTim HerrinMarcos Gonzalez
Surprise MLB debutCarlos VargasCarlos VargasSteven Kwan

A brief explanation of our choices above:

Justin Lada:

  • Mason Hickman’s pitch movement profile, arm slot, command and the potential to add velocity give him some unique traits to wind up as a back of the rotation arm. He might ultimately end up like Adam Plutko but there’s potential there for a sleeper rotation arm in his profile.
  • Palacios has fallen behind the names of middle infield prospects in this org but has good bat to ball skills, a mature approach at the plate and finally a healthy season could vault him back up the rankings.
  • Moss lacks starter’s command and a plus secondary offering. He profiles best as a reliever and his role as a starter in 2021 might be short-lived as other starters in the system ascend.
  • Espino is the most intruiging arm in the system because of his athleticism, explosiveness and pure stuff. He could be a fast rising prep arm.
  • If the new changes to the minors not allowing shifting stick, Bracho’s defensive abilities might be glaring at second. The bat might work in left field, but it’s a lot more valuable at second. He’s also on a timeline of the 40 man roster crunch coming this fall.
  • Nick Mikoljchak could be the next fast moving reliever in this system.
  • Jean Carlos Mejia might have the softest spot on the 40 man roster and he hasn’t pitched a full year yet due to injuries and the year off last year. He has one option left and could run out of time here.
  • Tim Herrin is a big left handed reliever who is up to the mid-90s with his fastball now and has a wicked slider. He could be a relief name to know by the second half of the year.
  • It’s unlikely Carlos Vargas makes the majors this year, but if there’s one player we wrote about in the system that could make a surprise big leap (Owen Miller might be a surprise but he’s close), Vargas has the velocity and slider to get big league hitters out right now.

Willie Hood:

  • Rule 5 selection: Trevor Stephan will likely take his share of lumps over the season. He has shown the ability to strike out batters and could carve out a role for himself as an MR with the potential to develop into more.
  • The 2020 draft class has yet to make its official debut, but I expect a solid initial effort from the small group. Mason Hickman has a low floor but could develop into a BOR arm quickly. Logan T. Allen is a polished college product that should move quickly through the minors, establishing himself as a potential BOR option in short order.
  • Scott Moss has failed to win a roster spot over the last two seasons and is down to his last option, righty Jean Carlos Mejia. The arrows are pointing down on both.
  • Shortstop Angel Martinez should continue to ascend prospect rankings. He is a personal favorite and displays an advanced bat, above-average speed and solid glove work.
  • Returning from injuries and lost in the middle infield shuffle: Marcos Gonzalez and Richie Palacios should push to establish themselves now that they are healthy. Palacios has added some strength to his frame with his present speed. He was an advanced college bat when drafted and could push himself onto the 40-man roster this coming offseason.
  • Righty Nick Mikolajchak has impressed in recent months with a sharp CB and velo spike, possibly moving the MR into the picture as soon as this season because of his stuff and control.
  • Cody Morris was limited this spring due to shoulder soreness and has had a previous shoulder injury and TJ surgery. There’s MOR potential with a SU role a more likely outcome. Morris could be pushed to a pen role if injuries keep popping up.
  • Lefty reliever Tim Herrin FB is now into the mid-90’s, and he’s worked hard to improve over the last year. He could establish himself as an RP prospect this season with the bump in stuff.
  • Shortstops Angel Genao and Fran Alduey are a few more that could push themselves into prospect rankings once they make their professional debuts. Right-hander Daniel Espino has the highest ceiling of every player in the system, but reaching that ceiling will require continued development.
  • Finally, Carlos Vargas was added to the 40-man roster this past offseason, his future role is still TBD, but he could dramatically impact the bullpen with his mid-to-upper 90’s FB and SL that projects as double-plus pitch.

Joe Coblitz:

  • This is a list of players I’ve been talking about for a long time in general, but there’s certainly an emphasis on players who had injury issues in 2019, and we haven’t seen in a long time like Vargas, Burgos, and Gonzalez. On Kwan specifically, he might not be a future all-star, but he’s near MLB ready at an extremely weak position for the franchise.

2024 lineup predictions:

Justin LadaWillie HoodJoe Coblitz
CBo NaylorBo NaylorBo Naylor
1BJosh NaylorJosh NaylorNolan Jones
2BTyler FreemanTyler FreemanTyler Freeman
3BGabriel AriasGabriel AriasGabriel Arias
SSAndres GimenezAndres GimenezBrayan Rocchio
LFAaron BrachoAaron BrachoDaniel Johnson
CFGeorge ValeraGeorge ValeraSteven Kwan
RFNolan JonesNolan JonesGeorge Valera
DHFranmil ReyesFranmil ReyesAaron Bracho
SP1Shane BieberShane BieberShane Bieber
SP2Tanner BurnsDaniel EspinoTriston McKenzie
SP3Daniel EspinoTanner BurnsEthan Hankins
SP4Logan T. AllenEthan HankinsJoey Cantillo
SP5Joey CantilloJoey CantilloCody Morris
CloserCarlos VargasCarlos VargasJames Karinchak


  1. Thanks for all your work! I’ve really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the 2021 minor league season where I suspect a number of LoA prospects will make real progress. Also, I was so happy we brought Cesar back, but it sure seems like Tyler Freeman is our second baseman of the near-future. I think Owen Miller too, is soon to become a Tito-favorite as a super-sub who really contributes offensively.

  2. Great work, guys,

    Interesting that Plesac, Civale, and the original Logan Allen are all absent in the 2024 rotation.

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