Many of the top MLB prospects will finally play real games for the first time since 2019. The minor league opens its season on May 4, and the next six to eight weeks will be pivotal in determining their big league readiness. It’s an exciting time for not just the players, but for the evaluators who will be able to note actual performances and analysis on these players. Most importantly, the players will try to make any good impression for a call up to the big leagues.
Here are some of the best-position prospects in the game to mark the return of minor league baseball.
Top MLB Prospects
Editors note: Scouting grades are based on the top 100 baseball prospects from MLB.com.
Bobby Witt Jr., SS
Tools: Hit: 60 Pwr: 60 Run: 60 Arm: 60 Fld: 60 Overall: 60
The Kansas City Royals have been playing Bobby Witt Jr. all over the diamond. They’re confident he’ll be able to play at shortstop, second base, or center field at an above-average level. Witt drives the ball to all parts of the field who is aggressive on the basepaths, giving him a combination of power and speed. His ability to play the game with intensity with quick feet and strong hands could very well throttle him to become a future All-Star.
Bobby Witt Jr. is pretty sharp with the glove too. pic.twitter.com/gcikT99pWp
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 10, 2021
Jarred Kelencic, OF
Tools: Hit: 65 Pwr: 60 Run: 60 Arm: 60 Fld: 55 Overall: 65
The Seattle Mariners have two of the best outfield prospects in baseball. Jarred Kelencic and Julio Rodriguez are two prospects who could join Kyle Lewis as the Mariners trio of the everyday outfielders. But, for Kelencic, both his arm and speed give him the ability to steal bases and play center field. He’s incredibly advanced who has a patient approach at the plate. His elite contact and power should make him an impact on the club immediately. The Mariners will have their prospect in Triple-A Tacoma for the time being.
MacKenzie Gore, LHP
Tools: Fastball: 60 Curveball: 55 Slider: 60 Changeup: 60 Control: 60 Overall: 60
MacKenzie Gore will make his major league in the second half of the season, or maybe sooner. The top prospect of the San Diego Padres employs a fastball that ranges in the 92-96 mph range. His slider is his go-to breaking ball, having surpassed from his curveball. His changeup sits in the low 80s that he can locate down in the strike zone. Gore pounds the strike zone with every pitch, but he needs to establish more consistency in each of his outings. That will be the first step the southpaw takes towards his potential as the lead ace of the rotation.
Want to watch MacKenzie Gore work? You’re in luck. pic.twitter.com/bESIzISUPk
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 23, 2021
Wander Franco, 2B/3B/SS
Tools: Hit: 80 Pwr: 60 Run: 55 Arm: 55 Fld: 50 Overall: 70
Wander Franco is the top prospect in all of baseball. The 20-year old could play at second, short, or third-wherever the Tampa Bay Rays think he’s best. Franco has both the physical tools and natural ability needed to become one of the top hitters of his generation. He continued his rapid climb to the major’s thanks to his performance at Tampa Bay’s alternate site, on the way to earn a spot on the team’s postseason taxi squad. But, the 22-year old will start the minor league season in Triple-A Durham. With his approach at the plate, speed, and strong hands, Franco’s versatility will create more advantages as he will impact 2021 and beyond.
Adley Rustchman, C
Tools: Hit: 60 Pwr: 65 Run: 30 Arm: 65 Fld: 65 Overall: 65
Adley Rustchman is the future face of the Baltimore Orioles. He will anchor the organization for years to come with his sturdy defensive catcher with soft hands, agility, and a laser of an arm. During his time with the Baltimore Orioles, the catcher had a chance to sharpen his development. Rustchman already has his defense. With his strong arm, he should help control the running game. He’s one of the best catching prospects since the San Francisco Giants drafted Buster Posey in 2008.
Adley Rutschman flashing that 60-grade hit tool. pic.twitter.com/CCP4zc2ihN
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 23, 2021
Spencer Torkelson, 1/B
Tools: Hit: 60 Pwr: 70 Run: 40 Arm: 50 Fld: 50 Overall: 65
Offensively, the bat and power of Spencer Torkelson are more than ready for the majors. But, on defense, the Detroit Tigers decided to develop Torkelson as a third baseman, a position he hasn’t played since high school. Long-term, the best role for him would be to play at first base. His development in the minors will delay his promotion to the majors. The Arizona State alumn should have no trouble meeting the offensive demands, which could be a middle-of-the-order impact bat for years to come in Detroit.
Alek Manoah, RHP
Tools: Fastball: 60 Slider: 55 Changeup: 50 Control: 50 Overall: 50
One of the most competitive prospects on the Toronto Blue Jays, Alek Manoah, is sitting in the mid-90’s while touching up to 98 mph on his fastball action. Manoah continued to develop for 2020 and at spring training earlier this year. At 6’6″, he throws stricks and attacks batters with his fastball and slider, and changeup. The Blue Jays remain confident that their 2019 first-round draft pick will be a starter long-term. Manoah will start the minor league season with Triple-A Buffalo. He has the tools needed to become not just a mid-rotation starter but a perfect one.
Alek Manoah, Wicked Changeup and Slider.
Filmed with a potato. pic.twitter.com/Pi9UBXolEM
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 14, 2021
Other Top MLB Prospects To Watch For
Austin Martin(TOR), Daniel Lynch(KC), CJ Abrams (SD), Keibert Ruiz (LAD), Tristian Casas (BOS), Nolan Jones (CLE), Jasson Dominguez (NYY), Max Meyer (MIA).