Editor’s Note: The classifications of Riley Greene’s teams has been fixed since this was originally published.
Below is the 2021 Baseball America Minor League all-star team as selected by the BA staff. Players are listed with their peak level and statistics are updated through the end of the season.
Capsules are written by Kyle Glaser.
C M.J. Melendez | Royals
Melendez underwhelmed in 2019, but he overhauled his stance, swing and approach at the alternate training site in 2020 and re-emerged this year as one of the minors’ top power hitters. Melendez led the minors with 41 home runs, ranked fourth with a .625 slugging percentage and finished fifth with a 1.011 OPS while rising from Double-A to Triple-A. He did it all while playing 80 of his 123 games at catcher, where he threw out 31% of basestealers and impressed with his overall athleticism.
1B Nick Pratto | Royals
Like Melendez, Pratto overhauled his swing at the Royals’ alternate training site last year and blossomed into one of the minors’ most prolific power hitters in 2021. He tied for second in the minors with 36 home runs, ranked third with 98 RBIs and posted a .988 OPS while splitting the season between Double-A and Triple-A. Pratto added 12 stolen bases and compounded his offensive performance with slick defense at first base, where he made just two errors the entire season.
2B Jose Miranda | Twins
Triple-A St. Paul
A second-round pick out of Puerto Rico in 2016, Miranda scuffled the first few years of his career before breaking out in 2021. The 23-year-old infielder hit .344/.401/.572 with 30 home runs and 94 RBIs between Double-A and Triple-A and led the minors in both hits (184) and total bases (306) while emerging as a potential part of the Twins’ future. Drafted as a shortstop, Miranda showcased increased defensive versatility after slimming down and made at least 25 starts at first base, second base and third base.
SS Bobby Witt Jr. | Royals
After a sensational showing in spring training, Witt tore through Double-A and Triple-A in 2021 to solidify himself as one of the top prospects in the game. The BA Minor League Player of the Year led the minors in extra-base hits (72), ranked second in total bases (286), was fourth in home runs (33) and also ranked in the top 10 in hits, runs, doubles and RBIs. Overall Witt hit .290/.361/.575 at the highest levels of the minors and also stole 29 bases to finish just shy of a 30-30 season.
3B Miguel Vargas | Dodgers
Vargas hit over .300 at every level since signing with the Dodgers out of Cuba and grew into newfound power this year. He hit .319/.380/.526 with a career-high 23 home runs and 76 RBIs while rising from High-A to Double-A and even stole 11 bases in 12 attempts to add to his offensive production. Vargas finished tied for third in the minors in runs scored (98), ranked third in hits (154) and was eighth in total bases (254). He played most of his games at third base but did see more time at second base late in the season.
OF Riley Greene | Tigers
Greene appeared on the fast track after the Tigers drafted him fifth overall in 2019. After spending last year at the alternate training site, he picked up where he left off and zipped through the upper minors despite not turning 21 until September. Greene hit .301/.387/.534 with 24 home runs, 84 RBIs and 16 stolen bases while moving from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo. He ranked fourth in the minors in hits (146), tied for sixth in total bases (259) and tied for seventh in runs scored (95).
OF Andy Pages | Dodgers
High-A Great Lakes
Pages jumped to High-A Great Lakes for his full-season debut and laid waste to opposing pitchers. He showcased prodigious power with 31 home runs, tied for seventh most in the minors, and also finished among the minor league leaders in runs scored (96), RBIs (88) and extra-base hits (57). In addition to his offensive production, Pages recorded nine outfield assists while seeing time in both center and right field.
OF Julio Rodriguez | Mariners
Rodriguez’s season was interrupted four times: the first two times to play for the Dominican Republic in Olympic qualifiers, then for the Futures Game in Denver and finally to represent the D.R. in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In between it all, Rodriguez starred for High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas, batting .347/.441/.560 with 13 home runs, 47 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in just 74 games. He also starred on an international stage at the Olympics, batting .417 to lead the Dominicans to a bronze medal.
DH Anthony Volpe | Yankees
High-A Hudson Valley
If not for Bobby Witt Jr., Volpe’s season would represent the best of any shortstop in the minors. The 2019 first-round pick broke out loudly at Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley, batting .294/.423/.604 with 27 home runs, 86 RBIs and 33 stolen bases to finish just shy of a 30-30 season. He led the minors in runs scored (113), tied for second in OPS (1.027) and ranked third in extra-base hits (68).
SP Cade Cavalli | Nationals
Cavalli shot up three levels in his professional debut, blowing hitters away at High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg before finishing out the year at Triple-A Syracuse. He posted a combined 3.36 ERA in 24 starts between the three levels and led the minors with 175 strikeouts. Cavalli had six games of at least 11 strikeouts, including arguably the most dominant pitching performance of the season when he pitched seven no-hit innings with 15 strikeouts against High-A Jersey Shore on June 12.
SP Grayson Rodriguez | Orioles
Rodriguez turned in a dominant first full season in 2019 and earned glowing reviews at instructional league last fall. He continued his rise this year with another stellar season across two levels at High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie. Rodriguez tied for second in the minors with a 0.83 WHIP, ranked second with a .159 opponent average and finished eighth with a 2.36 ERA. In perhaps his most amazing feat, he held opponents to one earned run or fewer in 17 of his 23 starts.
SP Max Meyer | Marlins
The third overall pick in the 2020 draft, Meyer received an aggressive assignment to Double-A to begin his pro career and handled it impressively. He rose to Triple-A by the end of the season and finished the season with a 2.27 ERA, fifth lowest in the minors. Even with stuff that wasn’t quite as sharp as it was in college, he held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 18 of his 22 starts and averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
SP Taj Bradley | Rays
High-A Bowling Green
Bradley became the latest breakout prospect for the Rays with a dominant season across both Class A levels. The 20-year-old righthander led all qualified starters in the minors with a 1.83 ERA, tied for third in wins (12) and finished eighth in opponent average (.180). He went nearly a month, from July 17 to Aug. 12, without allowing a run.
SP Matt Brash | Mariners
The Mariners acquired Brash from the Padres for reliever Taylor Williams last summer in a trade that is already looking like a steal. Brash showed some of the nastiest stuff in the minors while climbing from High-A Everett to Double-A Arkansas and finished among the minor league leaders in numerous categories. He finished seventh among qualified minor league starters with a 2.31 ERA, limited opponents to a .178 average and struck out 35.1% of batters faced, good for 10th among those with at least 90 innings.
RP Chris Wright | Giants
Wright shut down hitters as the closer for both Low-A San Jose and High-A Eugene this year. The 22-year-old lefthander finished third in the minor leagues with 21 saves, and his 1.00 ERA was the lowest of any full-season pitcher who pitched at least 45 innings. He limited opponents to a .126 average, while his 45.7% strikeout rate was the second highest of any pitcher with 45 innings.