Mike Meredith/CBS Sports

With the Minor League Baseball season beginning play this week, this week's Prospect Watch is officially the first since August 2019 to be published in front of the backdrop of actual MiLB games. To celebrate the occasion, we decided to use this week to highlight the one prospect on every team that we're keeping an eye on this year. 

The players listed below are here either because they're quality prospects; or because a quirk or aspect of their game is intriguing; or for some other reason that we'll explain. Obviously that's a subjective criterion, but hey, we make the rules around here.

Now, onto the Watch.

Prospect watch

Corbin Carroll: We might as well kick off this list with one of the best outfield prospects in the minors. The biggest knock on Carroll is that he's short, as he's listed at just 5-foot-10; it's fair to suggest that if he were a few inches taller, and all else remained the same, he would be held in higher regard as a prospect. Arizona's management had success in Boston by taking shorter outfielders -- be it Mookie Betts or Andrew Benintendi -- and they've followed the same formula with the Diamondbacks. Carroll has a chance to validate their approach again: he can really hit; he can really run; he manages the zone well; and there's more juice in his bat than his size indicates. Add in his ability to stick in center, and Carroll is on his way to becoming a potential star.

Michael Harris Jr.: The Braves have produced several high-quality position players over the past decade-plus, including Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Andrelton Simmons. Harris, who was also a well-regarded pitching prospect in high school, might join that group someday. He's a switch-hitter who batted .349/.403/.514 in his professional debut at the Gulf Coast League (though he struggled following a promotion). This spring he posted an .850 OPS while facing close to Double-A competition, and he even homered off Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks -- that'll activate the hype machine. If Harris keeps on hitting, he's going to end the season atop Atlanta's prospect list.

Adley Rutschman: Longtime readers of Prospect Watch should know by now that we're fond of Rutschman, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. He's the best catching prospect in the game; a switch-hitter with all the innate qualities one could desire in their catcher, as well as the potential for four above-average or better tools. He's opening the season in Double-A, and so the real intrigue here is whether or not he makes his big-league debut in 2021. 

Jarren Duran: If the Red Sox are going to capitalize on their start, they're going to need some outfield help. Duran could be part of the reinforcements. He's always been fast, but last summer at the alternate site he made swing changes that helped him tap into his raw power. It's to be seen if his gains are legitimate or simply the product of the weird environment; if it proves to be the former, then he should slot in as a starter in either center or left field before the year is out.

Burl Carraway: Although Carraway is a pure reliever, his stuff is so good that the Cubs drafted him 51st overall last summer. He has a pair of plus or better offerings, in an upper-90s fastball and a swing-and-miss curveball that could allow him to move quickly through the minors. The catch -- and there's always a catch with relief prospects -- is that he'll need to throw more strikes than he did in college, when he walked more than five batters per nine innings.

Andrew Vaughn: We're just hoping Tony La Russa can find it in his heart to give Vaughn more plate appearances than Leury García heading forward. 

Hunter Greene: The No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, Greene missed the last full minor-league season because of Tommy John surgery. He returned by pitching at the alternate site last summer, and in doing so proved that he can still hit triple digits. Scouts still have concerns about Green's fastball playing below its velocity, but he won't turn 22 until August and he's appeared in 21 professional games. In other words, we're willing to give him more time to see if he can make the necessary adjustments. 

Tyler Freeman: Freeman has one of the most extreme offensive profiles in the minors. He seldom walks and he doesn't hit for power, but he's been productive at every level despite also being younger than his average peer. The reason for his success is a high-grade hit tool that has enabled him to spray hits all over the place and to keep his career strikeout rate under 10 percent. Freeman will open the year in Double-A, and that tends to serve as the Burning Blade Challenge for most players with this skill set. 

Zac Veen: Truth be told, the Rockies have an underwhelming farm system. Veen, the No. 9 pick in last summer's draft, stands out as the most interesting player in the crop. He's a well-built lefty with a good stick who should be able to add more power as he matures. If all goes according to plan, and it rarely does in Colorado, he could become a middle-of-the-order hitter in due time.

Dillon Dingler: The Tigers don't have the kind of rich farm system you'd expect them to after five consecutive 90-loss seasons (we're prorating 2020, obviously); they have a handful of good prospects, sure, but the bottom falls out quickly. Nevertheless, we're giving Dingler the nod here because we think he has a chance to serve as the middle ground. He's a strong-armed catcher who hit .340 and set a new-career high in home runs (five) in the 13 games that served as his junior season at Ohio State. 

Jeremy Peña: Peña has big-league bloodlines (his father Gerónimo played in parts of seven big-league seasons in the '90s) and a skill set that should feature everything but power at his maturity. It's putting too much on his back to label him as the Astros' successor to Carlos Correa, but he's the best shortstop prospect in the system and he could make his big-league debut sometime in 2022. 

Erick Peña: We're doubling-up on Peñas because Erick will bear watching once he makes his way from extended spring training to Kansas City's Class-A affiliate later this summer. The Royals signed Peña in 2019 for nearly $4 million based on his offensive promise, and some of the videos from his time at the alternate site suggest he's ahead of schedule in providing them with return on their investment. He turned 18 in spring, so the Royals can afford to play it low and slow with his development.

Reid Detmers: You can make the case that this should be Jo Adell or Brandon Marsh instead, but we're going with Detmers because we're curious to see how quickly the Angels will push along the 10th pick in last year's draft. Detmers, for those who may have forgotten, features a big curveball and advanced pitchability. He's slated to open the season in Double-A, suggesting he could reach the Show before the fall. 

Michael Busch: The book on Busch is that he's a Professional Hitter. He minds the zone, he has the potential to contribute both average and power, and his defense is best left unremarked upon (though his chances of sticking at second base seem higher now than they were on draft day 2019). A broken hand sidelined him 10 games into his professional career, but he ought to be able to make up for lost time this year with an Opening Day assignment to Double-A. 

Jesús Sánchez: The conflict of Sánchez's game has been covered in various Prospect Watch entries: he's strong and he has capable bat-to-ball skills, but he hits the ball into the dirt too often to fulfill his promise. Sánchez is now nearing his 24th birthday, meaning he's also approaching the make-or-break point. We hope, for his sake, that he makes it.

Freddy Zamora: We thought the Brewers made a smart pick when they chose Zamora in the second round of last summer's draft. Zamora may have been selected in the first round were it not for the combination of a suspension and a torn ACL that cost him his year. Presuming he makes a full recovery, he has the potential to stick at shortstop while contributing at the plate, making him one of the best prospects in the system. 

Aaron Sabato: Whenever a team drafts a first baseman in the first round, they have to be sure he's going to hit. Sabato crushed the ball in parts of two seasons at North Carolina, homering 25 times in 83 games. The Twins are still taking a surprisingly conservative approach at the onset of his professional career, starting him in Low-A. We want to see how much damage Sabato can do against low-level professional pitching, and how quickly the Twins will respond by accelerating his timeline. 

Matt Allan: Allan was a first-round talent who slipped to the third in 2019 because of signability concerns. He received a $2.5 million bonus to join the Mets, though the pandemic has limited him to just 10 regular-season innings since. Allan did look good in some alt-site footage, and we're excited to finally get a full season of outings from him.

Jasson Dominguez: We are concerned that the expectations have grown unreasonable with Dominguez, who just turned 18 years old in February, but we can't wait to see him make his regular-season debut at some point this summer.

Nick Allen: Allen is one of the better defensive shortstops in the minors. He has a strong, accurate arm and the requisite footwork and hands to be an asset at the position for the long haul. The question with him is how much he'll contribute offensively. Allen is listed at just 5-foot-8 and he doesn't project to have a special hit tool. Still, he's likely to have a wide berth because of the secondary value he generates in the field and as a stolen-base threat, and he just might debut before the year is out. 

Francisco Morales: There are better prospects in the Phillies system, but we're giving Morales the nod because of his top-notch fastball-slider combination and the possibility (however small it may be) that he could help them out in the bullpen late in the year. Of course, the Phillies might decide he's better off continuing to work on his changeup and command in the minors.

Nick Gonzales: One of the top bats in last year's draft, Gonzales posted video game-numbers during his collegiate days at New Mexico State University. Now, he'll attempt to do the same against pro-level competition, starting in High-A. It's worth tracking how aggressive the Pirates promote him as compared to some of the other top prospects in last year's class, including Toronto's Austin Martin.

Anderson Espinoza: Espinoza, once a crown jewel in the Padres rebuild, hasn't thrown a regular-season pitch since 2016 because of two Tommy John surgeries. Espinoza is unlikely to reach his once-lofty ceiling, but he still possesses good arm strength and he only recently celebrated his 23rd birthday. That combination, plus the human-interest aspect of his story, make him worth watching.

Seth Corry: The last time we saw Corry pitch in the regular season, he struck out 172 batters in 122 innings in A-ball. It almost goes without saying that we're curious to see what he does this time around. Corry has quality stuff (though not as good as those numbers suggest), but he needs to work on his control if he's going to remain a starter for the long haul. He'll open the year in High-A.

Jarred Kelenic: We covered why Kelenic hasn't yet reached the majors in last week's edition of Prospect Watch. He's worth the wait, even if the wait is unjustified. 

Masyn Winn: Winn is a potentially fascinating two-way prospect. Unlike Shohei Ohtani and Brendan McKay, Winn's attempt at playing both ways entails holding down a premium defensive position on his non-pitching days, as he's an athletic shortstop with big-time bat speed. On the mound, meanwhile, Winn has been clocked into the upper-90s with his fastball. We haven't seen anything quite like what Winn could offer, and we're looking forward to seeing how the Cardinals manage both aspects of his development.

Wander Franco: Who else was it going to be? Franco is the top prospect in the minors for a reason, as he's a potential All-Star talent who should make his big-league debut later this summer. He'll open the season in Triple-A.

Cole Winn: The 15th pick in the 2018 draft has taken an odd road thus far. The Rangers didn't have him pitch after he signed as part of their de-loading program; he then walked more than five batters per nine in 2019 despite being regarded as having more polish than the standard prep arm. Winn was said to have looked much better in 2020 at the alternate site, showing off his well-rounded arsenal and strike-throwing ability, but we'd like to see it for ourselves before we accept he's back on track. 

Austin Martin: We had Martin as the top overall prospect available in last summer's draft because of his offensive potency and his multi-positional versatility. He slipped to the Blue Jays at No. 5, somehow, and Toronto now seems committed to hastening his big-league arrival. Martin will begin this year at the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliate, where he seems likely to split playing time between shortstop and center field. Provided he hits the ground running, he should be in line to debut sometime in early 2022.

Cade Cavalli: The Nationals may have the weakest farm system in baseball. That doesn't mean Cavalli is without intrigue. He's been recorded up to 99 mph this spring, and it's worth monitoring if the control gains he made during his collegiate career carry over to the pro ranks.