Depending on your fantasy baseball philosophy on prospects, you may want to play wait and see or pounce on prospects from the upcoming 2021 MLB Draft, or you may want college players over high schoolers, or hitters over pitchers. At RotoProspects, we favor hitters and tend to pounce if the ceiling is tantalizing enough, whether they’re coming out of high school or college.
We came up with a quick and dirty ranking of the top prospects that we’ll be looking to add in dynasty leagues (and stay tuned to see where they rank in the RotoProspects Top 300 after the draft:
- Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt: Some of this ranking is that the name value will give the Vanderbilt co-ace more cache in trades later this summer with rebuilding teams. A lot is just the degree of certainty that Leiter is going to be a very good MLB pitcher and soon. His fastball may sit 92-95, but he can hump it up to the upper-90s and it has so much late life that it’s a devastating swing-and-miss pitch. His deep arsenal and pedigree (son of 2-time All-Star Al Leiter) help give Leiter the edge over a certain well-known teammate.
- Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt: Again, name value means something, and leading the Commodores to the 2019 national title and striking out 19 in a no-hitter as a freshman have gained Rocker much fame. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound right-hander has a devastating slider that he got all 19 of those strikeouts with in the no-hitter to go with a mid-90s fastball. Rocker shouldn’t take long to reach the majors either and should soon be an innings-eating rotation centerpiece.
- Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (CA): Drawing comparisons to Corey Seager and hailing from the same high school as former No. 1 overall pick Adrian Gonzalez, Mayer is the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft. Going No. 1 would also give him extra cache for trades, but that smooth left-handed stroke gives you plenty to dream on as a future franchise player.
- Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (TX): The five-tool shortstop is a contender for the No. 1 pick, but his hit tool lags slightly behind Mayer. Lawler has more speed than Mayer and has drawn comparisons to Bobby Witt Jr., so there’s plenty of ceiling to dream on here too.
- Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (NC): The final piece of the triumvirate of prep shortstops contending for the No. 1 pick with the two Vandy aces, Watson has surged heading into the draft with the most speed of the trio and a similar combo of hit and power tools. The only problem is whether you want to wait three or four years for the payoff.
- Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall (OK): Armed with a slider that some scouts give an 80 grade and rank ahead of Rocker’s, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound righty is one of the most advanced high school pitching prospects in recent years. Dylan Bundy is a fellow Oklahoma prepster who went fourth overall in 2011 and reached the majors 15 months later, but he’s never really lived up to the hype. How about these stats last year: 9-0 with a 0.13 ERA and 122-5 K-BB in 51 2/3 IP. Both his fastball and change get 60 grades and even his curve gets a 55.
- Henry Davis, C, Louisville: A catcher with 55 grades for his hit and power tools, Davis has a tremendous arm that should allow him to stick behind the plate. Catchers are notoriously slow developers and don’t provide the ceilings that the other positions do, but fantasy owners would love to see have another J.T. Realmuto or Salvador Perez.
- Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow (GA): The 6-foot-3, 210-pound shortstop has the best power in the draft, but will likely wind up at third base. House has drawn comparisons to Joey Gallo and Nolan Gorman as the hit tool lags behind his power.
- Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston: One of the best college hitters, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder carries 60 grades in hit and run with a 50 power to boot. The smooth-swinging lefty has drawn comparisons to Brandon Nimmo and Bradley Zimmer.
- Ty Madden, RHP, Texas: The other elite college hurler, Madden led the Longhorns to the College World Series as the Big 12 pitcher of the year. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righty draws 60 grades for his fastball and slider and his curve and change are solid too.