The minor league system in professional baseball allows teams to give their young players time to develop. Very few players go directly to the MLB after ending their amateur career. Most minor league players never get to the highest level, but a small group of prospects are almost guaranteed to succeed in the majors. These are four of the best prospects in baseball entering the 2021 season.
Wander Franco is a 20-year old shortstop in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Franco signed as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic and quickly rose up the prospect rankings. He has all the tools you want in a player, including elite power with an excellent eye for the strike zone. Wander Franco has widely been considered the best prospect in baseball for two years, but he likely will not make his MLB debut until next season.
Sixto Sanchez is a young starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. Everyone got a taste of Sanchez’s brilliance when he was called up to the majors late in the season last year. Since he only threw 39 innings, Sanchez gets to keep his prospect and rookie status entering 2021. Sixto has an explosive fastball and changeup. He needs to harness his control to continue his development into a superstar.
The top outfield prospect in baseball is Jarred Kelenic in the Seattle Mariners organization. Kelenic was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft by the New York Mets before getting traded to Seattle. Kelenic continues to develop his swing every year to gain more power without sacrificing his contact rate. Since he recently turned down a lengthy extension with the Mariners, Kelenic likely will not debut in the majors until this summer.
Ian Anderson is another prospect that made a short debut in 2020. Anderson was forced to join the Atlanta Braves after the pitching staff was hit with a rash of injuries. Anderson rose to the occasion and quickly became one of the top starters in the National League. His virtually unhittable changeup was one of the main reasons the Braves almost advanced to the World Series last year.