After two weeks of rolling out our lists for the Top 10 prospects at each position, MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list for 2021 has finally arrived.
We have already begun dissecting this year’s loaded Top 100 group in different ways, whether it be a team-by-team breakdown of who made the list or by looking at which players climbed the most spots on the list. We will continue to analyze the brand-new Top 100 in the coming days, starting with a look at which teams are best represented on the list.
This year, five teams have placed at least five prospects in the Top 100. That total is down from last year, when nine clubs had at least five Top 100 representatives, and well below the MLB Pipeline record of 11 from 2016.
Overall, 15 organizations placed at least four prospects in the Top 100, and together they comprise 69 percent of the entire list. The Tampa Bay Rays, with their franchise-record eight Top 100 prospects, are the best-represented team for a second straight year.
Tampa Bay Rays (8)
The Rays’ Top 100 total is also tied for the third-highest in MLB Pipeline history behind the 2019 Padres (10) and the 2014 Red Sox (9). Switch-hitting shortstop phenom Wander Franco headlines the system as MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect for a second straight year, and he’s one of six Top 100 Prospects for Tampa Bay who could impact the team’s big league lineup in '21. Randy Arozarena and Luis Patiño, acquired by the Rays in offseason trades one year apart, are the new additions to the loaded group.
The Rays have now placed at least five players in the Top 100 for four straight years. The team’s streak of having at least three Top 100 prospects spans 15 years, dating back to 2007.
The Rays’ 373 Prospect Points -- a No. 1 ranking equated to 100 Prospect Points (PP), a No. 2 ranking to 99 and so on down to the No. 100 ranking amounting to one -- is the franchise’s highest total since 2008, but ranks second to Detroit on the 2021 list.
Seattle Mariners (6)
It’s been a steady build for the Mariners over the last four years, going from one Top 100 prospect in 2018 up to six in this year’s edition -- an all-time high for the organization. The Mariners are third behind the Tigers and Rays in Prospect Points (341), the organization’s second highest since 2013, when it racked up 351 Prospect Points while having one fewer Top 100 prospect. This year, Seattle’s Prospect Points total is heavily influenced by the club’s pair of top 10 overall prospects in Jarred Kelenic (No. 4) and Julio Rodriguez (No. 5).
Detroit Tigers (5)
The Tigers lead all 30 clubs with 421 Prospect Points this year -- a mark that is well above the team’s average of 115 from 2012-20 and higher than all but three totals over the past six years (Padres, 574 in 2019, 423 in '18; Braves, 429 in '19).
The Tigers had never placed more than four players in the Top 100 before placing five in the top 25 spots in this year’s list. Four of their representatives were first-round Draft selections, with former No. 1 overall picks Spencer Torkelson (2020) and Casey Mize ('18) leading a group that includes Matt Manning and Riley Greene. The Tigers have averaged four Top 100 prospects per year over the last four years during their rebuilding effort after averaging fewer than two Top 100 prospects from 2012-17.
Best of the rest
The Marlins and Orioles are the other two teams with at least five Top 100 Prospects, a solid indicator that both systems are on the upswing. Miami has now placed five in the Top 100 in back-to-back years after totaling five Top 100 prospects during a four-year span (2016-19). Baltimore’s five Top 100 prospects, led by No. 2 overall prospect Adley Rutschman -- the No. 1 pick in the 2019 Draft -- is the most they’ve had since MLB.com started ranking prospects in 2004.
The Padres, with their pair of top 10 prospects in MacKenzie Gore (No. 6) and CJ Abrams (No. 9), have the most Prospect Points (283) among the 10 teams who have four Top 100 representatives, while the Padres and Braves (266) both lead the Orioles (260) even though they have fewer Top 100 players. San Diego has had at least three prospects in the Top 100 every year since 2012.
The Pirates and Twins have had at least three prospects in the Top 100 every year since 2013, while Atlanta has produced at least four Top 100 prospects every year since '15.
Three of the White Sox four Top 100 prospects rank in the top 40 spots. That translates to the eighth-most Prospect Points (255) for the South Siders, although it’s their first sub-325 total since 2016 (117).
The Royals, with all three of their Top 100 prospects ranking in the top 30 spots, check in with 237 Prospects Points -- the 10th-highest total of all 30 teams. Kansas City also leads the way in Prospect Points for the teams with three or fewer representatives and have a higher total than six teams with at least four in the Top 100.
In terms of the all-time standings, the Rays (75), Braves (65), Dodgers (64), and Padres (59) have produced the most top prospects since the inception of MLB.com's rankings in 2004. On the other end of the spectrum are the Angels (33), Nationals (33), Giants (34), Cardinals (36), Tigers (37), Orioles (38) and A’s (38).
The Padres (5.20), Rays (4.90), Braves (4.90), Pirates (4.50) and Twins (4.40) have averaged the most Top 100 prospects per year since those rankings were expanded in 2012, while the Rays (4.17), Braves (3.61) and Dodgers (3.56) stand out for their Top 100 success dating back to 2004.
Nine teams have two or fewer prospects on the 2021 Top 100. The Astros and Rockies both have a single Top 100 prospect for a second straight year and are joined this year by the Nationals. After placing three prospects in the Top 100 for five straight years, the A’s are the only team without representation on this year’s list.