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NL East 2021 Breakout Prospects

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The NL East is no stranger to seeing young prospects make an impact at a young age, Ronald Acuna Jr.. Juan Soto, Ozzie Albies, Ian Anderson, Sixto Sanchez, and Luis Garcia, to name a few. Today, we are going to take a look at the Breakout candidates for NL East team, with some high upside prospects set to make a splash in 2021.

This series will go division by division. Breaking down 2 prospects per team from multiple analysts: Today, the NL East, @JTillinghast27, @d__brack, @DrakeMann4, @MLBUKAnalysis1. Each tasked with digging into the back half of each teams farm system to find some high upside prospects that we will be talking about much differently this time next year.

Criteria for the Prospects Below:
Must be ranked 10-20 or unranked in their teams rankings (via Prospects Worldwide ranks)
Prospects we feel will make a big impact in 2021.
Click each players Team Ranking to be directed to their teams Top 20 Prospect Ranks with scouting report attached
Click each players Dynasty Rankings to be directed to our Top 300 Dynasty Prospects List.


1. 1B Bryce Ball | 22 Years Old
Team Rank: 17th | Dynasty Rank:

A big, strong, and powerful Bryce Ball; 6’6 235lbs, is a wrecking ball at the plate. He will be limited to 1B defensively, limiting his overall value, but if you’re a dynasty player, Bryce Ball is a name you need to know. After going in the 24th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Dallas Baptist there was not a ton of expectations with Ball, but he changed that quickly.

In 62 Games in his first taste of pro ball, he showed a rather impressive ability to hit for average while driving the ball with wood into the gaps and over the fence. Collecting 18 Doubles and 17 HRs in those 62 games, good for a healthy .329/.395/.628/.1.023 slash line. Ball got a 21 game taste in A ball, and again hit well. Showing that power and hitability. But his BB% dropped drastically from 12.7% to 4.4% with the promotion to A ball, albeit a small sample size.

Do I expect Ball to be a near .300 hitter? Absolutely not.
Do I expect Ball to turn into a firm Top 5-10 1st Base Prospect with a strong offensive ceiling with Plus Power output? Yes.

I would expect Ball to settle in as a .240-.260 Hitter, with decent OBP numbers, and 25-30 HR Power and an outside chance to tap into 35 HRs if he can continue to hold his development with the hit tool I don’t see happening. Enough to find his way into the lineup and your dynasty rosters as well.
Jake Tillinghast; @JTillinghast27

2. OF Michael Harris | 19 Years Old
Team Rank: 11th | Dynasty Rank:

Harris was the Braves third-round pick in 2019 and he has loud tools all across the board. He’s a switch-hitting outfielder that has a more natural swing from the left-side but makes consistently hard contact and has already advanced to A ball where the results weren’t pretty .183/.269/.232 but the opposition was about two years older than Harris. While all his tools are still pretty raw his most prominent tool is his raw power with his swing that creates launch and the torque he creates with his lower half.

Realistically, he could hit for about a .270-.280, while getting on-base at a high rate and hit for some power. While his plate discipline needs some work, his bat is already advanced for his age and quickly Harris has the potential to turn into one of the Braves more prominent prospects.

Defensively, Harris has plus arm strength and good speed allowing him to play all three outfield positions but center field seems like his position in the future. I do want to finish off on this note, Harris was clocked at having a 90+ MPH fastball in high school and could have pitching as a fallback option considering he was a strong pitching prospect out of High School, but his ability with the bat shouldn’t get overlooked in this system or the minors. He has all the tools to be an everyday player for the Braves.
– Drake Mann; @DrakeMann4


1. SS Jose Salas | 17 Years Old
Team Rank: 14th | Dynasty Rank: 154th

Switch-hitting SS Jose Salas signed for $2.8 Million during the 2019 J2 Signing period. Yet to make his pro debut due to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been developing and growing into an incredibly good prospect over the last year. He has grown an inch and added roughly 40 pounds to his reported 6’1″ 150lbs frame when he signed back in 2019.

Salas simply needs to get live at bats under his belt to start advancing in his development, and the fact he will still be just 18 years old in his debut season is encouraging. Added onto the fact he was able to get some reps in at the alternate site and instructs that had some glowing reports coming out on Salas work ethic, ability at the plate, and overall development since signing. Salas has a high offensive ceiling with good hitability to all fields to go with some power potential now that he added that weight and has started to grow into his frame, with the plus bat speed and vertical bat angle.

Salas has a strong arm that fits at SS well with his quick twitch and ability to get to balls in the hole and up the middle. The Marlins are littered with high upside prospects throughout their system, but Salas may be their best infield prospects, and find his way inside the Top 6-10 prospects of the system after next season.
Jake Tillinghast; @JTillinghast27

2. OF Peyton Burdick | 23 Years Old
Team Rank: 11th | Dynasty Rank:

In a system loaded with outfield prospects, Peyton Burdick might end up being the best of the bunch. A chiseled 205LBs, he stands out as one of the most physically imposing prospects in the Marlins organization.

Burdick offers big raw power, and his swing allows him to tap into it consistently. Elite trunk rotation gives him great bat speed, but there’s more to it. Since he’s only 6’0, he doesn’t require the long levers that some guys utilize to get to their power. As a result, he can keep his swing short and still drive the ball with authority.

After being drafted in the 3rd round in 2019, Burdick bypassed Rookie Ball and spent the majority of the season in A Ball. There, he destroyed the competition to the tune of a .950 OPS and 172 wRC+ over 63 games. He saw a big regression in the stolen base department once he got to pro ball, but that could be due to having already played a full college season beforehand. He’s physically big, but he still has solid foot speed, giving him a chance to swipe a few bags.

Burdick was slated for a true breakout in 2020, but Covid has put a slight delay on the hype train. Word is that he was one of the more impressive hitters this fall at Marlins instructs, so it looks like the development continued in the upward direction. In all, Burdick has the potential to be a true middle-of-the-order masher in one of the outfield corners for a young, upcoming Marlins team, and we could see that happen as soon as 2021.
Danny Brackman; @d__brack


1. OF Alexander Ramirez | 17 Years Old
Team Rank: 13th | Dynasty Rank: 180th

The Mets top international signing from the 2019 J2 period Alexander Ramirez offers a long, lean, athletic frame and good baseball instincts for someone who is still so young. A wiry 6’3 and 170LBs, Ramirez uses an incredibly compact swing for someone with limbs as long as his. He emphasizes keeping his right elbow as tight to his body throughout the loading process, showcasing exceptional rotational ability and barrel accuracy in the swing. Thus, Ramirez is already able to get to some pull-side power in game competition as opposed to being a gap-to-gap guy like many younger prospects around his age. Down the line once he adds some more muscle, he could be a legitimate weapon both at the plate and on the bases.

Ramirez is currently a plus runner and his long legs and broad shoulders suggest that he could keep his speed even after adding some muscle down the line. If needed, he has the arm to play any outfield position, but for now he has the athleticism to stick in center.

Ramirez was invited to instructs this fall, which is great to see for a teenage prospect. The opportunity for him to work with older players and coaches in an otherwise lost year was crucial for his development. The Mets paid $2.1m last year for the outfielder so they’re clearly high on the DR product. The organization lauded his hitting ability and strike zone control as an amateur prospect, and along with the physicality and athletic potential, Ramirez looks like he could be one of the true standouts from a loaded 2019 international crop.
– Danny Brackman; @d__brack

2. OF Isaiah Greene | 19 Years Old
Team Rank: 12th | Dynasty Rank: 132nd

Isaiah Greene was one of my favorite 2021 draft picks last year, a player I was able to see multiple times live and the talent just stands out. A strong, patient composed approach at the plate with advanced hitability for a prep.

Greene’s developing power likely won’t ever reach 20+ HR consistently, but settling in around 15-18 annually, with a few peak seasons tapping 20+. And it really wouldn’t surprise me to see Greene turn into a near .300 hitter backed by those strong on-base skills. An above-average runner that will fall into 7-10 stolen bases along the way. The profile is pretty strong with not a ton of risk for a prep bat, because he does so many things well on the field, all tools grading 55 or better, other than that Power.

The Mets invested heavily into Southern California in the 2020 Draft with PCA and Greene. PCA is the better overall prospect due to his plus defensive ability in CF. But don’t sleep on Greene, I fully expect him to be a better Dynasty asset in due time than PCA. Something in the mold of Michael Brantley is the type of hitter I am expecting out of Greene down the line.
– Jake Tillinghast; @JTillinghast27


1. OF Jeremy De La Rosa | 19 Years Old
Team Rank: 12th | Dynasty Rank:

De La Rosa was signed as a 16-year-old for $300,000. A projectable outfielder that struggled somewhat in his first year of pro-ball hitting .232/.343/.366 with three home runs and a 12.1 BB% but has some of the better upside with the bat in the Nationals system. He could hit for power and average and has a sweet left-handed swing with a load similar to Nationals star Juan Soto.

He’s all-around going to be a force with the bat between his bat speed and gap-to-gap power. While at times, he has trouble recognizing off-speed pitches he still has a good idea of the strike zone and will take his walks. This, in turn, mixes well with his above-average speed.

While he’s primarily a center fielder due to his speed, De La Rosa could become more of a versatile outfielder with his average arm strength. De La Rosa is one of the more exciting teenage prospects in the MLB and with the Nationals ability to develop these teenagers into top-tier players, De La Rosa is going to be a fun watch for any baseball fan going through the 2021 MiLB season.
– Drake Mann; @DrakeMann4

2. INF Yasel Antuna | 21 Years Old
Team Rank: 16th | Dynasty Rank:

Signed for a franchise record $3.9m in 2016, the young Dominican showed his potential in the rookie league before the step up to A class in 2018. His struggles continued in 2019 when he missed the majority of the season due to TJ surgery.

There are a few issues surrounding him heading into 2021, one being his lack of game time and his lack of defensive home, but a full 2020 season to recover allows him to be ready.

The switch-hitter can make clean contact with the ball, with solid raw power, but there is more emphasis needed on his right handed approach to allow his development into a regular hitter. His swing could do with tidying up and focus on barreling the ball on a more consistent basis.

Defensively he has an above average arm but he lacks the profile to be a SS and his bat doesn’t quite play up to 2B. He will need to find a defensive home quickly but Antuna is a high risk, high reward potential for the Nationals.
– Jake Tweedie; @MLBUKAnalysis1


1. C Rafael Marchan | 21 Years Old
Team Rank: 10th | Dynasty Rank: Unranked

The defensive catcher has made steady progress within the system since being signed in 2015. Whilst he isn’t the strongest and use a lot of power, his ability to find the gaps allows him to pick it plenty of XBHs.
His strike rate shows his potential at the plate, relying on his contact to get on base and focusing more on his defensive tools.

Behind the plate he has potential due to his catching and throwing skills. His arm is plus and he has the ability to pick off runners with ease. He isn’t the biggest of catchers but he uses his tools perfectly to be a reliable glove. He managed to reach A+ in 2019, but should continue that progression in 2021 purely based on his defensive capabilities.
– Jake Tweedie; @MLBUKAnalysis1

2. RHP Mauricio Llovera | 24 Years Old
Team Rank: 11th | Dynasty Rank: Unranked

Signed for just $7.5k back in 14-15 International period Llovera has gone under the radar to be one of the Phillies’ most consistent pitchers.
Starting as a starter in his rookie days, he changed into a reliever in his first season at pro ball before evolving back into a starter. This earned him a call up to AA in 2019 before his big break in 2020 with a Majors roster call up.

Renowned for his solid strike rate, he mixes his sinking mid-90s fastball with his secondaries to create difficulty for hitters. His changeup induces ground outs and soft contact with its late dive, and the slider has the potential with his ability to add late bite to it or take the speed off it to become a true breaking ball.

There will be some buzz around him to be involved with the Majors roster in 2021 in some capacity, more than likely as a bullpen arm.
– Jake Tweedie; @MLBUKAnalysis1

Past Articles of other divisions Breakout Prospects:
AL East Breakout Prospects | AL Central Breakout Prospects | AL West Breakout Prospects
NL East Breakout Prospects | NL West Breakout Prospects

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