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Top 20 Fantasy Baseball Prospects: Week 21

The 2021 fantasy baseball season continues to fly by and we've hit Week 21. Playoffs in many fantasy leagues are just around the corner.

This ranking began the season as a Top 50 list looking at the premium prospects around the minors that could help during 2021 but as time progressed – and the window for prospects to have an impact narrowed – we're now down to the Top 20 names. We saw only one new name enter the list this week, a hard-throwing arm back from injury that could play a big role in the playoff race down the stretch in the AL East.

The extended minor league season could also come into play in September. The regular season usually comes to an end in August, but it was extended until the end of September due to the late start. That could cause teams to be even more hesitant to promote prospects to the majors in the final month of the season. However, there is also a worrisome surge in COVID-19 cases in the minors recently thanks to the Delta variant, which could cause a halt to the minor league season at any time if things really get out of control.

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Top Impact Prospects for Redraft Leagues

This prospects list is a ranking for 2021 redraft leagues only and is not a dynasty ranking. It also does not include any prospects on MLB rosters.

Ranking Player Pos Team Age ETA
1 Josh Lowe OF TB 23 AUGUST
2 Jose Miranda 1B/3B MIN 23 AUGUST
3 Keibert Ruiz C WAS 22 AUGUST
4 Seth Beer 1B/OF ARZ 24 AUGUST
5 Vidal Brujan IF/OF TB 23 AUGUST
6 Jose Barrero SS CIN 23 AUGUST
7 Nate Pearson RP TOR 24 AUGUST
8 Hunter Greene SP CIN 21 AUGUST
9 Kevin Smith 3B/SS TOR 24 AUGUST
10 Khalil Lee OF NYM 23 AUGUST
11 Josh Jung 3B TEX 23
12 Joe Ryan SP MIN 24
13 Shane Baz SP TB 21
14 Edward Cabrera SP MIA 23
15 Drew Strotman SP MIN 24
16 Cody Thomas OF OAK 26
17 Hunter Brown SP HOU 22
18 Nick Lodolo SP CIN 23
19 Matthew Liberatore SP STL 21
20 Jackson Kowar SP KC 24

Top 10 Prospects

1. Josh Lowe, OF: Lowe is batting just .250 in August but he’s hitting for power (three homers), getting on base (eight walks), and wreaking havoc on the base paths (four steals). The Rays are in a good place in the AL East, but the Red Sox, Yankees, and even the Blue Jays are making a strong push for a playoff spot.

2. Jose Miranda, 1B/3B: Miranda’s massive breakout season continues and he’s maintaining a strong 1.011 OPS in Triple-A. He’s played first base, second base, and third base in the minors this year. He’s probably a long-term first baseman, but he could have some defensive versatility early in his career, making him a more attractive fantasy asset.

3. Keibert Ruiz, C: Ruiz’s bat cooled immediately after the trade from the Dodgers to the Nationals but the 22-year-old catcher may have been pressing to improve his new organization. The good news is that he’s 4-for-8 with two doubles over his past two games.

4. Seth Beer, OF/1B: With the Diamondbacks going nowhere fast, Beer is making a late push to be considered for a role as the disappointing season for the big league club winds down. He’s hitting .400 in August and has a 126 wRC+ on the year at Triple-A.

5. Vidal Brujan, IF/OF: Brujan’s bat has perked up in August and he’s hitting .351 with an excellent BB-K of 4-4 in nine games. He’s also 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts and that speed could be a valuable tool for the big league club down the stretch.

6. Jose Barrero, SS: The Reds infield prospect continues to perform well since moving up to Triple-A. So far in August, he’s hitting .318 and has seen eight of his 14 hits go for extra bases.

7. Nate Pearson, RP: Pearson recently returned to the active roster at Triple-A. He’s struggled with injuries through what amounts to a lost season. Now that his lingering issue has been diagnosed (sports hernia) and he has received treatment, the organization will use him out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season.

8. Hunter Greene, SP: Greene allowed just one hit with 10 strikeouts in his last outing, but shortly afterward he was diagnosed with irritation in his AC joint (shoulder). The Reds are downplaying the severity, but shoulder issues are always worrisome.

9. Kevin Smith, 3B/SS: Smith has been struggling with strikeouts lately which could suggest he’s either banged up or tired. That could hurt his chances of breaking into the Jays lineup as the club battles for a playoff spot. He’s batting just .158 with 12 strikeouts in 10 games in August.

10. Khalil Lee, OF: Lee is still battling strikeout issues, but he’s hitting .300 in August and has seen seven of his nine hits go for extra bases. He’s also stolen two bases and has an intriguing power/speed mix.

Prospects 11-20

11. Josh Jung, 3B: Jung continues to tear the cover off the ball in Double-A and has a 141 wRC+ through 42 games. He’s recently been sidelined by a COVID-19 issue.

12. Joe Ryan, SP: Now back from the Olympics, Ryan will soon throw his first pitch for his new organization after moving from the Rays to the Twins at the trade deadline.

13. Shane Baz, SP: Back from the Olympics, Baz is due to make a start at Triple-A soon and could quickly earn a promotion to the majors to help the Rays fend off the other hot AL East clubs — either as a starter or, more likely, as a reliever.

14. Edward Cabrera, SP: The Marlins are going nowhere fast in 2021, but Cabrera is making a push to spend some time with the club in the final two months of the season. He has an eye-popping 35 strikeouts over his last three starts (16 2/3 innings) at Triple-A.

15. Drew Strotman, SP: Strotman was having a strong season at Triple-A prior to being traded from the Rays to the Twins. Since the move, he has a 6.28 ERA in three starts, but could settle down and earn a spot on the big-league roster later this season.

16. Cody Thomas, OF: Thomas has had a strong season at Triple-A this year (139 wRC+), but he hasn’t played since late July due to an Achilles injury that has been likened to tendinitis. It’s not considered a long-term injury.

17. Hunter Brown, SP: In three appearances at Triple-A since moving up from Double-A, Brown has a 2.76 ERA with a K-BB ratio of 15-6 in 16 1/3 innings. He’s also inducing a ton of ground-ball outs.

18. Nick Lodolo, SP: Lodolo’s second Triple-A start went better than his first and he struck out five batters without issuing a walk in three innings of work. The organization has kept his innings down since move up to Triple-A, which could be a tip off that they're considering him for a bullpen role at the MLB level.

19. Matthew Liberatore, SP: This young hurler had a strong start in his last outing with a K-BB ratio of 7-0 in seven innings of work. The Cardinals have an uphill battle to face in their push to reach the playoffs and Liberatore could be called up to help.

20. Jackson Kowar, SP: Kowar had a rough outing on Aug. 10, but he continues to show flashes of brilliance and could earn another shot in the majors as the year winds down.


Names to Know for 2022 Redraft Leagues

The majority of the prospects below won’t sniff the major leagues this year because their clubs are out of the playoff races and unlikely to see value in burning big-league service times. They'll likely be top prospects to target in 2022 redraft leagues.

Bobby Witt Jr., SS
Adley Rutschman, C
Nolan Gorman, 3B/2B
Julio Rodriguez, OF
Riley Greene, OF
Spencer Torkelson, 1B
Brennan Davis, OF
CJ Abrams, SS
Grayson Rodriguez, SP
Max Meyer, SP

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