Former Top Prospects Carried Astros, Braves To 2021 MLB World Series
Not every prospect becomes a major leaguer, but every major leaguer was once a prospect.
In the cases of the Astros and Braves, they relied heavily on top prospects becoming impact big leaguers to carve their paths to the 2021 World Series.
A combined 49 of the 52 players on World Series rosters this year ranked in at least one Baseball America Prospect Handbook before graduating to the major leagues. They include a multitude of top draft picks, including No. 1 overall picks Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson, and big dollar international signees such as Yuli Gurriel and Jorge Soler.
For both teams, homegrown cores set the foundation for their success. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, second baseman Ozzie Albies and third baseman Austin Riley were all homegrown, as was rigthander starter Ian Anderson. The Braves acquired Swanson and lefthander Max Fried in the low minors in trades and developed them through their system. Even Game 1 starter Charlie Morton was originally drafted by the Braves, although he last pitched for the team in 2008 before signing with Atlanta as a free agent prior to this season.
For the Astros, the infield of first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa and third baseman Alex Bregman has never played anywhere else, with Gurriel and Altuve signing as international free agents and Correa and Bregman being drafted with Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks, respectively. That infield has played 50 postseason games together, more than any other infield in major league history. The Astros homegrown influence is not limited strictly to that infield, however. Outfielder Kyle Tucker is another homegrown star who was a top draft pick (No. 5 overall in 2016) and their projected Games 1, 2 and 3 starters were all signed out of Latin America. In all, the Astros had the most homegrown roster of any team in the postseason this year.
Here is a breakdown of all the players in the World Series who ranked in a BA Prospect Handbook, including the years they ranked and which teams they ranked for.
|Dylan Lee||LHP||Never Ranked||N/A|
|Chris Martin||RHP||Never Ranked||N/A|
|Will Smith||LHP||Angels/Royals||2009-10, 2012|
|Travis d'Arnaud||C||Phillies/Blue Jays/Mets||2008-14|
|Adam Duvall||OF||Giants||2012-13, 2015|
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|Luis Garcia||RHP||Astros||2018, 2020- 2021|
|Cristian Javier||RHP||Astros||2018, 2020|
|Ryan Pressly||RHP||Never Ranked||N/A|
|Ryne Stanek||RHP||Rays||2014-15, 2017|
|Blake Taylor||LHP||Pirates/Astros||2014, 2021|
|Jose Urquidy||RHP||Astros||2017, 2020|