- ESPN MLB Insider
- Kiley McDaniel covers MLB prospects, the MLB Draft and more, including trades and free agency.
- Has worked for four MLB teams.
To coincide with ESPN’s ranking of the top 100 players in baseball for 2021, the exercise here is to predict who will be the next to make our MLB Rank list from each of the 30 clubs among those who did not this year.
For the most part, that means either they will make the list before the 2022 season or maybe the 2023 season, because every team will have players falling in and out of contention for the list every year. So it seems silly to project a minor leaguer who’s years away from making the big leagues — though there are circumstances where that makes some sense.
In 2019, 99 players posted 3.0 WAR or higher per FanGraphs, so that provides a tidy cutoff point. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean posting one 3-win season, but being perceived as being a 3-win talent, which are very different things. Only a couple of relievers get to this level of performance, and even fewer are seen as likely to repeat it; same goes for players with more limited physical tools. For reference on some of the more unfamiliar names, here is my 2021 top 100 prospects list.
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