Rays’ Franco repeats as top overall prospect
For the second consecutive year, the Rays reign supreme in the prospect world. Led by consensus No. 1 overall prospect Wander Franco, Tampa Bay boasts a Major League-high eight prospects on MLB.com's Top 100 list, released Thursday night. Following Franco at the top are the No. 1 overall picks in
For the second consecutive year, the Rays reign supreme in the prospect world.
Led by consensus No. 1 overall prospect
An American League pennant did not stop the Rays from staying true to form in the offseason. Now their willingness to sell off big pieces again has come to benefit their farm system in a big way.
Franco was part of the Rays’ taxi squad in the World Series, but has not yet made his Major League debut. The shortstop out of the Dominican Republic first topped the charts at the end of 2019, and his encore performance as the game’s best prospect may not even be a curtain call. Franco will be 20 years old for the entire 2021 season and has not played above the Class A Advanced level.
Like Franco, the top eight prospects on the list have not debuted in the big leagues.
Even without the cream of the crop, there was still a great deal of rookie talent on display in 2020. Pirates third baseman
With so many ranked prospects, the Rays’ fingerprints are all over the list.
Two ranked prospects actually made their Major League debuts in the 2020 postseason: Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff (No. 26) and Rays lefty Shane McClanahan (No. 84).
Among the Top 100, 15 prospects were acquired by their current clubs in trades, including four Rays. Ranked highest in this group are Mariners’ outfielder
Patiño and infielder
Rays postseason hero
Arozarena is also among an interesting group of players who played their way on to the Top-100 prospects list during the 2020 Major League season. The 25-year-old outfielder ranked No. 19 in the Rays’ system as he set an MLB record with 10 homers in the postseason.
Led by Kelenic and his likely future teammate in Seattle,
Franco was limited by a hairline fracture in his left wrist during summer camp in July, but Kelenic and right-hander
Three rebuilding teams -- the Orioles, Tigers and Marlins -- have five prospects listed apiece. There are 10 teams -- including the Padres, who traded Patiño, Edwards and Trammell –- claiming four spots on the list.
Even after trades that brought Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove into the rotation, San Diego’s system still features plenty of star power. The Padres were able to hang on to left-hander
Campusano is one of nine catchers listed in the Top 100. This trend has held steady since the end of the 2019 season -- Rutschman’s first on the list. There were eight Top-100 catchers at the end of 2020 and nine at 2019’s end, which was a jump from five at the end of 2018 and four at the finish of the previous year.
Right-handed pitchers still make up the largest group on the list with 27, but there are also 26 prospects listed as potential outfielders. Shortstop is the best represented infield position with 16 prospects, and there are 12 ranked southpaws – including the Rays’
Like Reds’ righty
Injuries have made things difficult for
Kopech (No. 39), the White Sox fireballer, missed the 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, returned to pitch one inning in the spring, then opted out of the 2020 regular season. Whitley (No. 41), the Astros’ lone Top-100 prospect, has been limited to 86 innings since 2018 by various oblique, lat and shoulder issues.
That duo at least remains on the list. A’s left-hander
Without a Minor League season last year, it’s difficult to determine who is ready to take the next step and graduate from this list in 2021. Spring Training should provide a better sense of who made the most of the alternate sites, who is best positioned for sustained success and which young core might be ready to take their team to the postseason.
Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GerardGilberto._