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2021 Florida Complex League Top 10 Prospects

Marcelo Mayer Tomdipace
Marcelo Mayer (Photo by Tom DiPace)

It was an unusual year in the Florida Complex League. The league formerly known as the Gulf Coast League retained its Rookie classification and kept the same number of teams: 18.

While the flavor of the league was similar, it was also different. With the lost 2020 season and MLB cutting out short-season leagues, players from both the 2020 and 2021 draft classes were in the FCL making their pro debuts, while multiple signing classes of international players filled the league for their first official pro action or their United States debuts.

Several prominent 2021 draft picks do not appear on this list because they didn’t meet the playing time cutoffs to be eligible, including Marlins shortstop Kahlil Watson, Phillies righthander Andrew Painter, Rays shortstop Carson Williams and Pirates outfielder Lonnie White Jr.

1. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox
Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 188. Drafted: HS—Chula Vista, Calif., 2021 (1st round).

The fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft, Mayer makes the game look easy on both sides of the ball. He’s calm and balanced in the batter’s box with a smooth, fluid lefthanded swing. He makes frequent contact with good bat control and an advanced approach for his age to drive the ball to all fields.

Mayer has a tall, lean frame with good strength projection remaining, with power that continues to trend up and could be an above-average tool as he fills out. Mayer is a below-average runner with a bigger frame, but he projects to stick at shortstop because of his easy actions, soft hands, nimble feet and a strong arm. He has a good internal clock, too, with a knack for slowing the game down.

If everything clicks, Mayer has a chance to be a plus hitter in the middle of a lineup who can stick at a premium position.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox91252541317152771.275.377.440

2. Brady House, SS, Nationals
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Winder, Ga., 2021 (1st round).

Even early in his high school years, House looked like a man among boys, with a combination of physicality, hitting ability and power that made him the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft.

House has plus raw power that he showed off immediately upon signing. He has a shorter swing for someone his size, with the torque, bat speed and strength which could grow into plus-plus power and the feel for hitting to tap into that juice in games.  His offensive approach is advanced for his age. He shows a solid grasp of the strike zone and the ability to drive the ball with impact to the middle of the field.

House is a shortstop for now and will continue to develop there, though many scouts expect him to slide over to third base. He would profile well there both offensively and defensively as a good athlete for his size with an outstanding arm, solid hands and reactions off the bat.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Brady House, SS, Nationals5914193041271300.322.394.576

3. Jose Salas, SS, Marlins
Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 191. Signed: Venezuela, 2019.

Salas grew up in Orlando but signed out of Venezuela in 2019 as the Marlins’ top international target that year. He made his official pro debut this year and didn’t spend much time in the FCL before the Marlins promoted him to Low-A Jupiter in mid August.

Salas has a good blend of size, quick-twitch athleticism and tools that translate in games. He’s a physical shortstop who moves well for his size, with plus speed now, though some of that could back up as he fills out. He could stick at shortstop, where he reacts well off the bat and has a strong arm, though there’s a chance he could outgrow the position and end up at third base, and some scouts think he could fit in center field.

Salas performed well in the FCL. He barreled the ball consistently in games, though his pitch recognition could improve. He’s a switch-hitter who drives the ball well from gap to gap, with the bat speed and strength projection for at least average future power.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Jose Salas, SS, Marlins921434100111112385.370.458.511

4. Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Parkland, Fla., 2020 (4th round).

Mayo was a well above-slot signing for the Orioles out of high school in 2020, landing a $1.75 million bonus as a fourth-round pick. After Mayo had a knee injury in the spring, the Orioles held him back from full-season ball to begin the year in the FCL. He hit so well in the league that in mid August the Orioles jumped him to Low-A Delmarva, where he hit .311/.416/.547 in 125 plate appearances.

Mayo has a huge 6-foot-5 frame with at least plus raw power, a tool he was able to tap into in games. With his long levers, there will probably always be some swing-and-miss to his game, but he kept that in check this year and showed impressive patience to go with his power.

Coming off a knee injury, Mayo didn’t look 100% with his movements at third base. He has a plus arm, though there’s some risk he could end up at first base.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles76192560415131460.329.440.566

5. Blaze Jordan, 3B, Red Sox
Age: 18. B-T:: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Drafted:: HS—Southaven, Miss., 2020 (3rd round).

Jordan was originally in the 2021 high school class, but he reclassified to become eligible for the 2020 draft and at 17 signed for $1.75 million as a third-round pick. His official pro debut came in the FCL, where he hit massive home runs and quickly earned a promotion to Low-A Salem in early August.

Jordan has outstanding bat speed and a physically mature frame for his age. That combination of bat speed and strength helps him produce plus-plus raw power, and while he has an aggressive approach, he taps into that power in games. He’s able to make adjustments in games with a knack for driving the ball for power to right-center field as well.

Jordan’s fielding was a liability coming out of high school, with a lot of scouts figuring he would end up at first base, but he surprised some who saw him with better than expected defense, showing hands that should work in the infield and plenty of arm for third base.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Blaze Jordan, 3B, Red Sox6912257141961310.362.408.667

nationals-900x635

2021 Washington Nationals Instructional League Roster

Brady House headlines the Nationals' instructional league roster.

6. Ian Lewis, 2B, Marlins
Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 177. Signed: Bahamas, 2019.

Lewis was the top prospect from Bahamas when the Marlins signed him in what is looking like a stacked 2019 international class for Miami that also included with righthander Eury Perez and shortstop Jose Salas.

Lewis is a quick-burst athlete with explosive movements, both in the field and in the batter’s box. A wiry 5-foot-10 when he signed, Lewis has added considerable strength to his frame over the last two years with more room to fill out while staying lean and athletic. Lewis has good hand-eye coordination to make frequent contact from both sides of the plate, with the additional strength helping him drive the ball with more impact with a lot of damage against fastballs.

With Jose Salas and 2021 first-rounder Kahlil Watson on the team, Lewis primarily played second base, which is where he probably fits best, though he did get time at third and a little bit at shortstop, too. He’s a plus runner who has quick feet and good body control in the field with smooth double play turns.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Ian Lewis, 2B, Marlins1492445105327112494.302.354.497

7. Joe Mack, C, Marlins
Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht: 6-1. WT: 210. Drafted: HS—East Amherst, N.Y., 2021 (1st round supplemental).

One of the top offensive performers on the summer showcase circuit throughout his high school years, Mack’s 2021 spring season got off to a late start in Western New York, with Mack going straight from his high school team’s volleyball playoffs to the baseball field.

Mack never seemed to quite get his timing right during the spring, and that carried over into his pro debut. Still, there is a lot to like with Mack, who at his best looked like one of the top hitters in the 2021 prep class with a patient approach, good bat speed and a chance for average or better power.

Mack will need to quiet his receiving technique and do a better job with his blocking from his one-knee stance, but he has an explosive lower half with at least a plus arm, regularly recording pop times in the 1.9s in games and as low as 1.81 seconds on a caught stealing at second base.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Joe Mack, C, Marlins53971012202201.132.373.208

8. Manuel Sequera, SS, Tigers
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht: 6-2. WT: 200. Signed: Venezuela, 2019.

The Tigers’ top two international signings in their 2019 class were outfielder Roberto Campos and Sequera, both of whom posted big power numbers in their pro debuts in the FCL.

While Campos signed in part because of his power, Sequera has grown into considerably more power over the last two years. Coming out of Venezuela, Sequera was more of a line-drive hitter with doubles power, but he showed the bat speed and ample strength projection in his frame to project more power, which is what happened. Sequera earned praise for his swing mechanics, approach and power, though he did strike out 29% of the time.

Sequera has a plus arm, but his range and infield actions will probably push him to third base.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Manuel Sequera, SS, Tigers17131421201140155711.246.314.509

9. Izaac Pacheco, SS, Tigers
Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht: 6-4. WT: 225. Drafted: HS—Friendswood, Texas 2020 (2nd round).

Pacheco stood out for his size and power coming out of high school, with the Tigers signing him for $2.75 million, well above slot for the 39th overall pick.

Pacheco has plus raw power, but he showed swing-and-miss tendencies in high school which continued in the FCL, where he struck out 34% of the time. Pacheco uses his hands well at the plate with a fluid swing and a solid sense of the strike zone, but he will need to make more contact.

Pacheco has a high baseball IQ that helps him defensively, especially at his size at shortstop. Scouts generally see him as a future third baseman, with some chance he ends up in an outfield corner. His hands should work int he infield, and his plus arm should fit at third.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Izaac Pacheco, SS, Tigers10616244217184310.226.339.330

10. Antonio Gomez, C, Yankees
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht: 6-2. WT: 210. Signed: Venezuela, 2018.

Gomez was one of the top catchers in the 2018 international class, though health and the loss of the 2020 season due to the pandemic had limited him to just 15 pro games entering 2021. Gomez opened the year in the FCL, hit well there, then slowed down when he got to Low-A Tampa in August and hit .197/.310/.328 in 71 plate appearances there.

The best tool Gomez has is his arm. It rivals the best arm for a catcher at any level of professional baseball, with some giving it an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Gomez put in considerable work to improve his receiving over the last two years, which was evident in games in 2021.

Gomez hit well in the FCL, though he is more of a defensive-oriented catcher at this point. He has a good plan at the plate, but he projects to likely hit toward the bottom of the order if he develops into a big league regular.

Player, Pos, Team (Org)ABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLG
Antonio Gomez, C, Yankees95182981216163140.305.416.474

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