2021 Top Prospects Lists

MLB Pipeline releases their Top 30 list of Astros prospects for the upcoming season (accompanying article + list itself):


  • #7 RHP Alex Santos (2nd rounder-2020)
  • #17 RHP Tyler Brown (3rd rounder-2020)
  • #21 OF Zach Daniels (4th rounder-2020)
  • #27 RHP Peter Solomon
  • #28 RHP Austin Hansen
  • #29 OF Ronnie Dawson
  • #30 RHP Brandon Bailey

*Comparing to last year’s preseason list from MLB Pipeline

18 pitchers, 1 catcher, 5 middle infielders, 5 outfielders and 1 1B/LF on the list.

19 draft picks (15 college, 3 HSers, 1 JUCO), 9 IFAs, 2 trade acquisitions.

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No rankings in this milb.com article but mentions on a few players including Whitley, Korey Lee, Alex Santos, Shawn Dubin, Colin Barber and Jeremy Pena. A few quotes from Pete Putila including:

Whitley and his last appearance of the summer:
“It was like, electric. It was some of the best stuff we’ve seen from him. He struck out every single hitter he faced. So he’s still showing that – he was top pitching prospect in baseball, he’s still showing that."

Lee and the changes he’s making at the plate:
"He’s been focusing on kind of overall quieting down the swing. He made some big strides last year reducing a big bat tip. And this year, he’s really worked on reducing stride length, basically just getting him into the ground, getting his foot down on time to be able to get a good swing off and elevate the ball and everything. So mostly mechanical at the plate.”

Also quotes from Putila on the rest of the players noted above.

Ah, Whitley. Perennial prospect. How is his attitude, I wonder?

I try to reassure myself that Tucker was a perennial prospect too


BA out with their top 10 list today:

  1. RHP Forrest Whitley
  2. RHP Luis Garcia
  3. SS Jeremy Pena
  4. RHP Alex Santos
  5. RHP Bryan Abreu
  6. RHP Tyler Ivey
  7. C Korey Lee
  8. RHP Hunter Brown
  9. OF Colin Barber
  10. SS Grae Kessinger

In their “best in the org” listing, 2020 4th round pick Zach Daniels was designated best power hitter, fastest baserunner and best athlete. Not surprisingly Pena was “best defensive infielder” while Jake Meyers was “best defensive outfielder”. Interestingly Richi Gonzalez who has yet to play a game in the organization (the pandemic wiping out the 2020 season had something to do with that) was selected as “best outfield arm”. He was signed for $310K out of the DR in 2019.

Arguably the biggest discrepancy between the BA list and the earlier one from MLB Pipeline is the latter has Freudis Nova at #2 while BA has him unranked (although almost certainly he’ll be in the 11-15 range when their full Top 30 list comes out). BA itself had him at #4 last year. In the chat, Ben Badler says reports on him from scouts re his recent play in FIL were not encouraging. Major questions about the bat remain and Badler seems to think 3B or OF is now where he ends up defensively.

Other comments from Badler during the chat:

  • Dauri Lorenzo was signed as a SS for $1.8MM two years ago but thinks 2B is where he ends up defensively.
  • Kessinger “more than likely” slides to 2B long term (a pretty consistent view about Don’s grandson since he was drafted)
  • With the appropriate caveats (we’ll know more once he’s actually in the system and playing), says Pedro Leon “would be outside the top 10”.

Thanks for this. I saw BA released the list earlier today, but since I don’t have a subscription I didn’t know the details.

I more or less agree with the rankings 1-9, although I’d probably drop Ivey down and move Barber up. I’d also replace Kessinger with Jairo Solis. Kessinger seems more in the 11-15 grouping for me with Nova, Daniels, Ty Brown,and probably Jojanse Torres. Jordan Brewer might be in that group as well.

Btw, any discussion in the chat about Shay Whitcomb or Jayson Schroeder? Heard the latter showed dramatic improvement in Instructionals this year.

And here’s hoping Alex McKenna can stay healthy for an entire season.

Nothing about Whitcomb or Schroeder.

So Jim Bowden identifies the most underrated prospect for each organization. In the case of the Astros, it’s Rainier Rivas due to his hit tool and raw power (the latter a 70 on the scouting scale). Rivas is 19 and came to the Astros in '19 from the Angels in the Max Stassi trade.

I would point out several caveats re Bowden’s list and Rivas in particular:

  1. Apparently Bowden asked each org for the name of a prospect so not exactly getting an unbiased view of the player.
  2. His defensive profile is LF/1B so he has to continue to hit for an absolute ton to be taken seriously from a prospect standpoint.
  3. I find it curious that the Astros did not bring Rivas to this year’s fall instructional league. Orgs typically bring their better prospects in for that (unless injury or workload dictates otherwise) so by not doing so the Astros could be signaling how they view Rivas internally. And this year’s FIL was particularly important given the org had not seen most of these players this year (other than perhaps remotely) due to the cancellation of the minor league season. [Note that Rivas is Venezuelan and that country has been under COVID lockdown off and on for many months which included shutting down the airports there. So that could be an explanation as to why Rivas wasn’t there. On the other hand, fellow Venezuelans Wilyer Abreu, Kenedy Corona, Jairo Solis, Angel Macuare and Daniel Pacheco were at FIL so the travel restrictions couldn’t have been all the severe.]

I’m looking forward to see what Rivas can do in Fayetteville and maybe Asheville.

Lefty hitter…297 ft down the RF line at McCormick Field…could be interesting.

and misleading


well at least a lot of doubles.

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I’m gonna try to go to a game there this summer.

Hit me up when you do. If I can’t make it out I’ll at least recommend some good places for eats and drinks.

Mamacita’s was where my son and I tried to eat before each game we went to there over the years. Lots of good memories traveling over the mountain for a game.

Will do.

I have been looking for an excuse to spend time in Asheville, and this may be what the doctor ordered.


I have two nieces in NC, one in Durham, one in Chapel Hill and I like to visit there every three years or so. One of my favorite scenic drives in the whole country is the drive between Knoxville and Asheville.


One of my best friends grew up in Barnardsville, maybe thirty minutes outside of Asheville. It is gorgeous country.