julio-rodriguez.jpg

The midway point is a fitting time to reassess the entire prospect pool, taking into account the risers and fallers (not to mention the call-ups) from the first two months.

It's those call-ups that throw a wrench in the process. The typical cutoff for a prospect is 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched at the major-league level, which is straightforward enough for an offseason list. But with this season still ongoing, what's intended to be a long-term reference could quickly render itself obsolete if too many graduate too quickly.

I'm inclined then, as always, to exclude any prospect who's already debuted in the majors, being wary of him shedding the prospect label too soon. But because that feels like an imperfect solution that eliminates an important reference point, I've decided this year to show where they would slot even though they aren't actually part of the top 25. 

So what does that look like? Observe:

What I'm indicating here is that Wander Franco and Jarred Kelenic would be Nos. 1 and 2 on my list had I permitted myself to include them. Simple enough, right?

I'm also excluding Jarren Duran since his major-league debut is already confirmed, so don't be alarmed when you see his picture (or silhouette, as it were) further down the list. Also, don't expect to see any of the 2021 draft class, many of whom haven't even signed yet.

As is worth reiterating for all of my prospect content, Fantasy Baseball-minded analysis places a lower emphasis on defense and a higher emphasis on readiness. Keep that in mind.

We dove deeper into the Kelenic/Duran/Fanco debate on FBT:

All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 14.

1. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners

Age: 20
2021 levels: high Class A, Double-A
2021 stats: .308 BA (159 AB), 8 HR, 7 SB, .956 OPS, 22 BB, 43 K
From the time he was 17, it seemed a foregone conclusion he'd one day sit atop these prospect rankings, and now, with Wander Franco and Jarred Kelenic having graduated, here Rodriguez is. If not for the pandemic last year, he might already be in the majors, but for now, he's handling Double-A, making hitting look as effortless as another Rodriguez did 25 years ago.
Second-half callup is ... possible.

2. Bobby Witt, SS, Royals

Age: 21
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .301 BA (226 AB), 15 HR, 14 SB, .955 OPS, 25 BB, 61 K 
It seemed crazy this spring when the Royals talked about making Witt, at age 20 and with no more experience than Rookie ball, their starting second baseman, and his struggles early at Double-A justified their decision to wait. But he's been hitting out of his mind there since about the end of May, once again putting pressure on an organization already known for promoting aggressively.
Second-half callup is ... likely.

3. Spencer Torkelson, 3B, Tigers

Age: 21
2021 levels: high Class A, Double-A
2021 stats: .290 BA (186 AB), 12 HR, 14 2B, .984 OPS, 38 BB, 46 K
The top pick in the 2020 draft took a while to get going but has come on strong, looking like an OPS hog who'll anchor the Tigers lineup for years to come. His prodigious power overshadows how polished he is as a hitter, making a 2021 debut not totally out of the question.
Second-half callup is ... possible.

4. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles

Age: 23
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .274 BA (212 AB), 12 HR, 10 2B, .895 OPS, 44 BB, 39 K
Catcher prospects generally aren't a big draw in Fantasy Baseball, but Rutschman breaks all the rules, as you might expect for a former No. 1 overall pick. Quite simply, there are no flaws in his game, neither offensively nor defensively, which ensures he'll stick in the lineup even while manning the most demanding defensive position. There's a chance he's remembered as one of the best catchers in history.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

5. Marco Luciano, SS, Giants

Age: 19
2021 levels: low Class A
2021 stats: .271 BA (214 AB), 14 HR, 12 2B, .909 OPS, 30 BB, 53 K 
He's always had the look of a phenom, but his first taste of full-season ball has put on full display just how developed his power already is. It's likely he outgrows shortstop, but his bat will certainly play at third base and possibly even propel him to the majors before his 21st birthday.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

6. C.J. Abrams, SS, Padres

Age: 20
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .296 BA (162 AB), 2 HR, 13 SB, .782 OPS, 15 BB, 36 K
A fractured tibia and sprained MCL freezes Abrams' development for now, but as easily as everything has come so far for the sixth pick in the 2019 draft, you'll trust him to rebound quickly and completely next year. It's too early to say whether power will become a part of his game, a la Trea Turner, but his hit and speed tools are both darn near the top of the scale.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

7. Grayson Rodriguez, SP, Orioles

Age: 21
2021 levels: high Class A, Double-A
2021 stats: 6-1, 2.02 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 58 IP, 12 BB, 85 K
He just keeps getting better and better and is now at the point where he's probably the best pitching prospect in baseball, his fastball pushing 99 mph and his changeup going from a work in progress to possibly his best pitch -- or second to the fastball, anyway. His arsenal and complete mastery of the minors remind me a little of Jose Fernandez.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

8. Riley Greene, OF, Tigers

Age: 20
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .288 BA (215 AB), 10 HR, 10 SB, .870 OPS, 27 BB, 69 K
The fifth pick in the 2019 draft has made it all look easy so far, and it's especially encouraging that the power projection is already coming through. His hit tool gives him a high floor, so it's mostly a question of how high his ceiling goes. Players this far along at age 20, though, often wind up being perennial All-Stars.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

Alek Manoah
SP •

9. Noelvi Marte, SS, Mariners

Age: 19
2021 levels: low Class A
2021 stats: .286 BA (238 AB), 11 HR, 10 SB, .872 OPS, 31 BB, 60 K
The hype has been building for Marte for a couple of years now, so it's nice to see him make good on it in his first taste of full-season ball. A Hanley Ramirez comp seems apt here, right down to the likelihood of him eventually winding up at third base -- perhaps sooner in his case than in Hanley's.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

10. MacKenzie Gore, SP, Padres

Age: 22
2021 levels: Triple-A
2021 stats: 0-2, 5.85 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 20 IP, 12 BB, 18 K
You may find Gore sinking even faster in other prospect rankings, which is defensible given the way his delivery has gotten out of whack. The Padres have kept him out of sight as he works to right it, and if the switch goes on again, you'll be glad you held out. He seemed like a can't-miss ace-in-waiting just a year ago and, as long as his health is intact, is a reasonable bet to recapture that form.
Second-half callup is ... possible.

11. Austin Martin, SS, Blue Jays

Age: 22
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .274 BA (164 AB), 2 HR, 9 2B, .780 OPS, 27 BB, 47 K
Our first look at last year's No. 2 overall pick has been underwhelming, but Double-A was an aggressive assignment. His .402 on-base percentage shows he isn't overwhelmed by it. His power tool remains in question, but this ranking is meant to reflect my optimism in that regard. His offensive profile is so strong otherwise.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

12. Shane Baz, SP, Rays

Age: 22
2021 levels: Double-A, Triple-A
2021 stats: 3-4, 2.09 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 51 2/3 IP, 8 BB, 77 K
The former Pirates farmhand has taken his biggest steps toward becoming a starting pitcher this year, no longer firing everything at maximum velocity but instead staying in control and mixing in his full arsenal. The results speak for themselves, especially the dramatic reduction in walks, and that Chris Archer trade just keeps getting worse for the Pirates.
Second-half callup is ... possible.

13. Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees

Age: 18
2021 levels: Rookie ball, low Class A
2021 stats: .259 BA (27 AB), 1 2B, 2 SB, .708 OPS, 6 BB, 6 K    
It feels like we've been hearing about Dominguez for five years, and only now does he have some minor-league stats under his belt. They don't reveal much, but this is no time to back down from the belief he's a baseball prodigy capable of producing elite exit velocities from both sides of the plate and handling shortstop just as well as center field. Mike Trout comps are dumb, but they've been bandied about for him.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

14. Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks

Age: 20
2021 levels: high Class A
2021 stats: .435 BA (23 AB), 2 HR, 3 SB, 1.465 OPS, 6 BB, 7 K
There was a growing feeling in prospect circles that Carroll was about to take the minor leagues by storm, and that's certainly how his 2021 season started out. A torn labrum seven games into it has left even more to the imagination. He's both polished (which has so far manifested as walks) and athletic (which has so far manifested as steals), making it easy to envision a spectacular final outcome.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

15. Edward Cabrera, SP, Marlins

Age: 23
2021 levels: low Class A, Double-A
2021 stats: 2-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 32 IP, 6 BB, 44 K
He has breezed through two levels since making it back from a biceps injury, finally reaching the one where he probably should have started out this year (Triple-A). His command has continued to improve, as has his secondary arsenal, but it's his fastball that will carry him -- a sinking, high-90s offering that limits hard contact while also missing bats.
Second-half callup is ... likely.

16. Max Meyer, SP, Marlins

Age: 22
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: 4-1, 1.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 54 IP, 27 BB, 54 K
With a slider that pushes 90 mph and a fastball that pushes 100, Meyer has an elite one-two punch that should carry him far, whether it's as a starter if his changeup comes along as expected or a closer if things go wrong. The strikeouts have been a bit lacking in his professional debut, but he's mostly dominating on what was an aggressive assignment.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

17. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox

Age: 21
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .269 BA (167 AB), 6 HR, 4 SB, .776 OPS, 21 BB, 38 K
His current stat line belies the reports of his stud turn at the alternate training site last year, which I'm still inclined to believe. He makes plenty of contact and has both a good setup and a smart approach at the plate, eliciting comparisons to Freddie Freeman. It might help him to elevate the ball a little more, but don't be surprised to see his power come around in the second half.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

18. Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals

Age: 21
2021 levels: Double-A, Triple-A
2021 stats: .264 BA (220 AB), 12 HR, 4 SB, .782 OPS, 21 BB, 66 K
His struggles since moving up to Triple-A have tainted his stat line, but he showed an improved contact rate at Double-A while also getting his feet wet at second base, which may be his eventual home now that Nolan Arenado has joined the big club. If he can make enough contact to get to his 70-grade power, there's a star outcome here.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

19. Jeter Downs, SS, Red Sox

Age: 22
2021 levels: Triple-A
2021 stats: .225 BA (173 AB), 7 HR, 12 SB, .663 OPS, 17 BB, 57 K
Downs' first official year in the Red Sox organization has been rocky, to say the least, after his final year with the Dodgers saw him emerge as an on-base threat with all-fields power. Most presumed he'd be the Red Sox's starting second baseman by now, but he's been buried in strikeouts while failing to crush left-handers like in past years. He basically skipped Double-A, though, so I'm inclined to show him some grace.
Second-half callup is ... possible.

20. Cade Cavalli, SP, Nationals

Age: 22
2021 levels: high Class A, Double-A 
2021 stats: 3-3, 2.47 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 62 IP, 29 BB, 103 K
His move up to Double-A has exposed a need to shore up his command, but he was blowing hitters away at high Class A, producing a jaw-dropping stat line in each of his seven starts there. The No. 22 pick in last year's draft slid because of durability concerns but has four well-developed pitches and a potential ace outcome. He could be up as soon as next year. 
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

21. Hunter Greene, SP, Reds

Age: 21
2021 levels: Double-A, Triple-A
2021 stats: 6-3, 3.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 63 1/3 IP, 26 BB, 85 K  
The No. 2 pick in 2017 was hyped to the hills for his two-way potential and 105-mph fastball, but inconsistency followed by Tommy John surgery took the wind out of those sails. He's come back with a vengeance this year, though, still topping triple digits while adding a Corbin Burnes-style low-90s cutter. He's taken a step back since his move up to Triple-A, but the hype has nonetheless been restored.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

22. Tyler Soderstrom, C, Athletics

Age: 19
2021 levels: low Class A
2021 stats: .315 BA (200 AB), 10 HR, 20 2B, .975 OPS, 25 BB, 54 K
He may not stick at catcher for long (which only bolsters his dynasty appeal, frankly, with catchers being difficult to project and all), but his bat has been all it was advertised to be and more in his professional debut. He consistently hits the ball hard and works the count such that it's tempting to describe him as a Moneyball throwback, except that he also has that more traditional "Fabio" appeal.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

23. Reid Detmers, SP, Angels

Age: 22
2021 levels: Double-A 
2021 stats: 2-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 50 IP, 17 BB, 91 K
Drafted 10th overall last year as a conventional lefty with a pretty curveball and predictable mid-rotation outcome, Detmers has blown out expectations in his first professional season, leading the minors in K/9. Adding a couple miles per hour to the fastball has a lot to do with it, especially since it was already pretty good at generating whiffs with its high spin rate. The curveball, though, is just bananas.
Second-half callup is ... possible.

24. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Brewers

Age: 22
2021 levels: high Class A, Double-A
2021 stats: .311 BA (119 AB), 6 HR, 12 SB, .987 OPS, 29 BB, 38 K
The Aaron Rodgers of last year's draft class in that he fell and fell and fell, Mitchell has so far stuck it to all the teams that passed over him. His pure athleticism is what stands out most, making the sky the limit in terms of upside. His swing could use an overhaul -- he's been trained to hit the ball into the ground and book it to first base -- but it's not like he's been a zero for power so far.
Second-half callup is ... unlikely.

25. Gabriel Moreno, C, Blue Jays

Age: 21
2021 levels: Double-A
2021 stats: .373 BA (126 AB), 8 HR, 1.092 OPS, 14 BB, 22 K
It's tempting to leave him out now that he's sidelined by a thumb fracture, but would you look at those numbers? From a 21-year-old catcher, no less. At Double-A! The contact skills have long been there, but now that he's grown into some power, a star outcome is possible. He's plenty athletic for a catcher, too, making him a better long-term fit than Alejandro Kirk.
Second-half callup is ... not happening.

Also considered: Francisco Alvarez, C, NYM; Brett Baty, 3B, NYM; Brennen Davis, OF, CHC; Nick Gonzales, SS, PIT; Jordan Groshans, SS, TOR; DL Hall, SP, BAL; Robert Hassell, OF, SD; Josh Jung, 3B, TEX; George Kirby, SP, SEA; Nick Lodolo, SP, CIN; Alek Thomas, OF, ARI; Jordan Walker, 3B, STL