Written by: Jake Tweedie
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With Spring Training drawing to a close, it is nice to finally have baseball back properly. We missed out on Spring Training last year, as well as a potentially exciting developmental year for a lot of systems’ prospects. That being said, this year has certainly given us a lot to look forward to in regards to MLB but also for the Minor League season.
This article takes a look at the hitters that have impressed this Spring Training, plus taking a look at where those guys could be plying their trade in 2021.
Spring Training Standout Prospects
There has been plenty of prospects that have been catching the eye in Spring Training. From prospects who are having their first taste of pro ball, to those that have flew under the radar in recent years.
1. Garrett Mitchell OF – Milwaukee Brewers
The first name on the list was drafted in 2020 by the Milwaukee Brewers. Having his first taste of pro ball, he has looked extremely comfortable in this environment. Averaging .379 at the time of writing, with 1 HR and 6 RBIs, Mitchell has looked every bit of the 1st Rounder that he was. The Brewers took a chance on him when many others wouldn’t, and it is proving to be extremely beneficial.
With the outfield looking heavily stacked, there is minimal chance of Mitchell starting the season with the Brewers. However, if he can continue to show the talent he is already proving then there may be a regular spot for him come 2022 or 2023. There is plenty of development left with him, and there is currently no rush to bring him up permanently.
2. Heliot Ramos OF – San Francisco Giants
Another young outfielder showing his abilities within Spring Training, Ramos has averaged .417 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs. Although his bat has done a lot of the talking, his inexperienced has showed in the outfield. He missed a couple of flyballs that have gone in and out of the glove but as a whole he can be happy with his offensive return.
The recipient of the 2021 Barney Nugent Award, Ramos has took advantage of his time in Spring Training, and will be looking to continue that form in 2021 with the Richmond Flying Squirrels in AA. Touted to reach the Majors roster either this year or next, it’s going to be an exciting season for the Giants.
3. Bobby Witt Jr. SS – Kansas City Royals
The 2nd Overall pick of the 2019 Draft has looked at ease within the Spring Training environment. Averaging .289 with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs, he has looked comfortable both at the plate and in the field. One of the most exciting players this Summer, there was heavy talk of Witt being involved with the Royals’ roster come April 1st. Although this didn’t materialise, Witt must only be 1 or 2 years off being a Major League regular.
The Royals currently have more pitchers than hitters in their Top 10 Prospect Ranks, but Witt certainly excites everyone within the organization and beyond. One of the most exciting players in Minor League baseball come 2021, Witt is certainly one to watch for the future.
4. CJ Abrams SS – San Diego Padres
The second shortstop on the list, Abrams has gone about his work quietly but effectively. He has averaged .250, the lowest on the list so far, but has hit a double, a triple, a HR and has 11 RBIs currently.
In a conveyer belt type system in the Padres, they aren’t afraid to get their top talents exposed to Major League baseball. This could see Abrams pushed up in the back end of 2021, or they could just wait until 2022. He has yet to be exposed past Low-A, but has certainly warranted his position with some impressive displays.
5. Julio Rodriguez OF – Seattle Mariners
The Mariners have been a bright spark this Spring Training with all their prospect talent. Rodriguez is just one of a handful of prospects that have performed this Summer. Averaging .313 with 2 doubles, 2 HRs and 4 RBIs, Rodriguez is highly regarded as one of, if not the best, outfield prospect in baseball right now. If he continues the way he is developing he could see Major League time as early as 2022.
Signed from the Dominican Republic in 2017, Rodriguez was solid in 2019, hitting double-digit HRs, as well as having 69 RBIs. There is still plenty of work for him to do, but this Spring Training has been a good indicator of where he is at.
6. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are slowly becoming one of the better farm systems in MLB, after being gutted heavily in the last few years. There is more focus on their prospects currently, which has enabled them to push through players like Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Hayes had 85 ABs in 2020, but will be the starting 3B for the Pirates heading into 2021. Averaging .413 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR and having 8 RBIs, he is one of the most exciting performers in Spring Training this year. He has started to show more maturity with his pitch selection, and that has enabled him to hit better to all fields.
7. Tucupita Marcano 2B – San Diego Padres
The second Padres player to make the list, Marcano has been impressive at the plate. Averaging .410 with 4 doubles, a triple, a HR and 4 RBIs, he has really took to Spring Training. The Venezuelan was signed back in 2016, and hasn’t really shown the offensive output that has been seen this Summer. Without a real standout tool, he has shown this Spring Training that he can make regular contact, as well as being disciplined at the plate.
8. Bobby Dalbec 1B – Boston Red Sox
Dalbec has really showed his class this Spring Training. Tied-2nd for HRs with 7, he is also averaging .311 with 16 RBIs. This impressive form has Red Sox fans excited for the future, especially considering he done well in the 2020 season with the Major League team.
Drafted back in 2016, Dalbec has always shown power, with 60 HRs in his last 2 Minor League seasons. This form saw him called-up last season, and he hasn’t looked back since. There’s a long way to go to be deemed a Red Sox fan favorite but he was well and truly on his way. Dalbec is expected to start for the Red Sox at 1st Base in 2021.
9. Akil Baddoo OF – Detroit Tigers
Drafted back in 2016, he isn’t high on many people’s lists when thinking of the Tigers’ prospects. However, Baddoo has made an instant impact this Spring Training. He has averaged .325 with 2 doubles, 5 HRs and 11 RBIs.
The 22-year-old has finally had his break, after being drafted by the Minnesota Twins and selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Tigers this offseason. His offensive output has never been great in the Minors, but a chance against better pitchers has seen him hold his own within that environment. His latest HR against the New York Yankees shows explosive power and control over his swing.
10. Jorge Mateo 2B – San Diego Padres
The last name on the list, and the 3rd Padres prospect, is a bit more out there than the others. Although Mateo has never really kicked on wherever he has been, his Spring Training is more reserved and shows a controlled side of him. He has an average of .333 with 6 doubles, a triple and 9 RBIs so far.
Traded from the A’s, Mateo is starting to show his true colors and his true abilities. So far this Spring Training has showed that he may have turned a corner, and has started to identify himself as an offensive threat.
Although there are quite a few recognizable names on the list, there are a few surprises, whilst also some missing from the list entirely. Taylor Trammell has done well, as has Jarred Kelenic, whilst the likes of Tyrone Taylor and Mario Feliciano for the Brewers have had impressive Spring Training campaigns themselves.