On a recent spring afternoon, I hopped a DeLorean to go back to the future and discuss the top 100 prospects for 2021.
On Wednesday, we explored next year’s dynasty catcher crop.
Today, we’ll stay on that future theme but continue our position-by-position focus, zooming in on first base.
The DH is coming the DH is coming the DH is coming!!
By which I mean first base is often cited as a position in decline, but that will be short-lived if the National League stops sending pitchers to their batters box doom. It’s with that in mind I didn’t overly penalize blocked players like Dominic Smith.
The question of how to rank guys like Justin Smoak, Daniel Murphy, Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar has troubled me because they could simply fail out of the league at any time, but they have to be ranked as if they might wind up with a starting gig because hey, they seem to have one today.
I wanted to push Bryce Ball, Aaron Sabato and Kevin Cron up the list but struggled to find daylight in a position that will look pretty thick next year depending how the dominoes fall. Ball and Sabato seem like natural hitters, but with their profiles, they will have to hit their way into opportunities more than players with diverse skills, so the shortened season could disproportionately hurt their timelines.
Edwin Encarnacion presents an interesting case. I loved him at cost in 2020, but where will he land next Spring? He has to be given some benefit of the doubt, but winter’s game of musical chairs is rarely kind to his type in the tanking era.
Ryan McMahon isn’t here because I don’t think he’ll get 20 games at the position in a shortened season featuring Daniel Murphy’s money, but I think he’d land just above the Christian Walker range if eligibility manifested.
Pick to click: Leandro Emiliani has one of my favorite swings in the minors. He’s on the short side for this position at 6’1”, but he absolutely demolished the Gulf Coast league with a 175 wRC+ despite being younger than his average competitor. He’s buried on this and all rankings if he’s mentioned at all, but I will be unsurprised if he smashes his way into the echo chamber.
Thanks for checking out the most comprehensive 2021 dynasty rankings money can buy!
Second base is on deck and knocking donuts off the bat as I type this!
I’m @theprospectitch if you’re looking for a new voice in your Twitter feed.