With the 2021 baseball season hopefully set to commence in just a month’s time, Baseball America has released their top 100 prospects entering the new campaign, with five players from the Rays organization included among them.
1. Wander Franco, SS (2020 ranking: 1)
17. Randy Arozarena, OF (2020 ranking: not ranked)
23. Luis Patino, RHP (2020 ranking: 18)
56. Vidal Brujan, INF (2020 ranking: 51)
100. Shane McClanahan, LHP (2020 ranking: 83)
Although they still boast a very impressive farm system, the five prospects in the top 100 is actually a step down from the eight they had ranked entering the 2020 season with Brendan McKay, Shane Baz, Brent Honeywell, Xavier Edwards, and Joe Ryan all seeing their stock fall during the pandemic plagued season.
It was truly a bizarre year in baseball, with the minor league season being completely cancelled and scouts having very limited access to prospects around the game. However, the prospect pundits of the game have still found a way to gauge all of the players from each team and have, to the best of their abilities, ranked them according to their merit.
For the second year in a row and to the surprise of none, Wander Franco sits atop these rankings. Franco will turn 20 years old this upcoming March and stands a good chance of making his big league debut at some point during the regular season.
The precocious switch-hitter has potential batting titles in his future and a chance to reach the majors by 20 years old.
Throughout Baseball America’s history, there have only been three other players to have been ranked the number one prospect in the game in consecutive years: Andruw Jones (‘96-’97), Joe Mauer (‘04-’05), and Bryce Harper (‘11-’12). Those three are now joined by Wander Franco.
Meanwhile, Randy Arozarena shot up the prospect rankings thanks to his historic performance in the postseason in which he belted a record-breaking 10 home runs. He is now the Rays second-ranked prospect and 17th overall.
The breakout star of the postseason is bound to face an adjustment period, but his tools and athleticism should help him remain a standout.
The prize of the Blake Snell deal, Luis Patino, slots in as the third-best prospect and 23rd overall. Despite being just 21 years of age, Patino could slot into the Rays opening day rotation this season.
Few players have arms as electric as Patino. His potential is enormous if he can harness his command and maintain a good pace on the mound.
Vidal Brujan just does everything right and should be knocking on the door to the big leagues very soon.
The best athlete in a Rays system loaded with athletes, Brujan does almost everything well except hit for power. And he is stronger than you may think.
Shane McClanahan made his debut towards the end of the 2020 campaign and although the results weren’t awe inspiring, he did display some promise that could lead some to hope for future success.
McClanahan, who debuted in the postseason, has a power arsenal and could be a weapon either as a starter or reliever.
At least two of these players (McClanahan and Arozarena) will likely start the season with the big league club with the remaining three threatening to make their debuts at some point during the year.