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Minor League Opening Day: MLB Prospects You Need To Keep An Eye On



In lieu of a traditional daily prospect report, Josh Norris is celebrating Minor League Opening Day by highlighting several players he can't wait to see this year. Full stats from prospects playing in the majors are still below. 

D.L. Hall, LHP, Orioles -- One of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects, he’ll take the Opening Day start with batterymate Adley Rutschman for the Baysox. Combined, that’s the No. 2 overall prospect (Rutschman) and the No. 52 prospect (Hall) setting up shop 60 feet, 6 inches from one another. Hall’s command and control have long been issues, but his stuff is undeniable. His mid-to-upper 90s fastball is particularly intriguing because of the life it shows even to the naked eye. When he’s right, he has strikeout stuff and is one of the nastiest pitchers in the minors.

RELATED: MLB scouts identify 28 prospects to keep an eye on entering 2021

Quinn Priester, RHP, Pirates -- Priester was the darling of the Florida instructional league, where he showed an electric, mid-90s fastball and a powerful downer curveball. He was also at the team’s alternate training site, where he got to showcase himself in front of team brass—albeit in a controlled setting—for a summer. Now he’ll head to High-A Greensboro, where he’ll be part of a stacked pitching staff that also features righties Carmen Mlodzinski, Braxton Ashcraft and Tahnaj Thomas, to say nothing of talented Top 100 infielders Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero.

Wander Franco, SS, Rays -- What would Opening Day be without the No. 1 prospect in the game, the next wunderkind in a seemingly endless line. Franco starts the year with Triple-A Durham, which gets a pretty interesting draw out of the gate when it faces Memphis on the road. The Redbirds, who were one of the two final teams to take the field (they played Sacramento in the Triple-A National Championship Game, lo these many months ago) have rotation with lefthander Matthew Liberatore, who was dealt to St. Louis in the package for Randy Arozarena. Franco and Liberatore have been teammates in the past, so it’ll be intriguing to see who gets the edge when they meet—will it be the switch-hitting contact machine or the lefty with the dastardly curveball?

Kannapolis Rotation -- The Low-A Kannapolis Cannon Ballers feature three of the best prospects in the White Sox’s system in righties Jared Kelley, Andrew Dalquist and Matthew Thompson. All three are high draft picks but none has pitched above the complex leagues because of the pandemic. Now, all three will get to strut their stuff—Kelley with his big fastball and changeup, Thompson with his boundless athleticism and elevator-shaft curveball (watch for the funky pauses in his delivery, too) and Dalquist with his outstanding mix of pitches when the lights come on every night.

Luis Matos and Kyle Harrison -- If you’ve followed my Twitter, or listened to me on various podcasts, or read my chapters of the Prospect Handbook, or just passed by while I shouted on street corners, you know I am extraordinarily high on Giants prospects Luis Matos and Kyle Harrison. The outfielder and the lefthander were extremely impressive both at instructional league in the fall and again at minor league spring training. Matos is a potential five-tool talent who was excellent in complex ball in 2019 before the pandemic canceled the minor league season and forced him and his fellow Venezuelans to hole up in a local hotel for months. Harrison was the Giants’ third-round pick in the most recent draft, and they spent nearly $2.5 million to add him to their system. Already, they’ve seen him take jumps on the mound. He averaged 96 mph on his fastball this spring and paired it with a slider he used to blow away hapless hitters. His changeup has shown promise, too, but the first two pitches are the show-stoppers. Combine the arsenal with a low-slot, deceptive delivery and you’ve got a pitcher with more helium than Party City. Oh, and if those two weren’t enough, Matos and Harrison will be joined in San Jose by shortstop Marco Luciano, who might be another superstar in the making.

BATTERS

TEAMCLASSRANKPLAYER, POSABRHBIAVGNOTES
BALMAJ#5Ryan Mountcastle LF3100.210BB (5)
CLEMAJ#30Yu Chang 1B3000.163
CLEMAJ#3Andres Gimenez SS1000.183
MINMAJ#1Alex Kirilloff 1B4321.2312 2B (3)
MINMAJ#26Ben Rortvedt C3000.125
OAKMAJ#30Seth Brown LF0000.250
PHIMAJ#10Nick Maton 2B3000.327
SDMAJ#15Jorge Mateo PH1000.212
SEAMAJ#6Taylor Trammell LF3100.143
STLMAJ#1Dylan Carlson RF3111.267
STLMAJ#8Andrew Knizner C3000.227
TBMAJ#2Randy Arozarena LF3100.2682 BB (10)


PITCHERS

TEAMCLASSRANKPLAYERIPHRERBBKERANOTES
BALMAJ#9Dean Kremer6.0211246.43
CLEMAJ#15Emmanuel Clase1.0100010.00Sv (5)
KCMAJ#2Daniel Lynch4.2433435.79
KCMAJ#20Tyler Zuber1.0000124.91
MILMAJ#26Angel Perdomo1.0100136.14
MILMAJ#13Drew Rasmussen1.0100026.17
MINMAJ#20Cody Stashak1.0100117.88
PHIMAJ#23Connor Brogdon0.1122207.15
SEAMAJ#15Wyatt Mills1.2222126.75
SEAMAJ#21Anthony Misiewicz0.1233102.70
TBMAJ#25Ryan Thompson0.1000012.70
TEXMAJ#4Dane Dunning5.2332253.81L (1-2)

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2021 San Francisco Giants Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update

Updating the San Francisco Giants rankings to reflect 2021 draft picks, risers, fallers and more.

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