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 Lada||Willie Hood||Joe Coblitz|
|Sleeper prospect||Mason Hickman||Trevor Stephan||Jesus Maestre|
|Breakout prospect||Richie Palacios||Nick Mikolajchak||Ray Burgos|
|Prospect bust||Scott Moss||Scott Moss||Kyle Nelson|
|Most excited to see||Daniel Espino||Daniel Espino||Daniel Espino|
|Most concerned about||Aaron Bracho||Cody Morris||Julian Escobedo|
|Biggest riser||Nick Mikolajchak||Angel Martinez||Carlos Vargas|
|Expect to fall||Jean Carlos Mejia||J.C. Mejia||Will Benson|
|Name to watch not on our rankings||Tim Herrin||Tim Herrin||Marcos Gonzalez|
|Surprise MLB debut||Carlos Vargas||Carlos Vargas||Steven Kwan|
A brief explanation of our choices above:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Lada||Willie Hood||Joe Coblitz|
|C||Bo Naylor||Bo Naylor||Bo Naylor|
|1B||Josh Naylor||Josh Naylor||Nolan Jones|
|2B||Tyler Freeman||Tyler Freeman||Tyler Freeman|
|3B||Gabriel Arias||Gabriel Arias||Gabriel Arias|
|SS||Andres Gimenez||Andres Gimenez||Brayan Rocchio|
|LF||Aaron Bracho||Aaron Bracho||Daniel Johnson|
|CF||George Valera||George Valera||Steven Kwan|
|RF||Nolan Jones||Nolan Jones||George Valera|
|DH||Franmil Reyes||Franmil Reyes||Aaron Bracho|
|SP1||Shane Bieber||Shane Bieber||Shane Bieber|
|SP2||Tanner Burns||Daniel Espino||Triston McKenzie|
|SP3||Daniel Espino||Tanner Burns||Ethan Hankins|
|SP4||Logan T. Allen||Ethan Hankins||Joey Cantillo|
|SP5||Joey Cantillo||Joey Cantillo||Cody Morris|
|Closer||Carlos Vargas||Carlos Vargas||James Karinchak|