Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: Where will Arozarena rank in 2021?

@JimCallisMLB
October 14, 2020

We're in the middle of the Championship Series, so of course we're talking about ... Randy Arozarena? The Rays' rookie outfielder is batting .438 with five homers in 11 postseason contests this year. With at least three more games to go, he's set the rookie single-season playoff record with 39

We're in the middle of the Championship Series, so of course we're talking about ... Randy Arozarena?

The Rays' rookie outfielder is batting .438 with five homers in 11 postseason contests this year. With at least three more games to go, he's set the rookie single-season playoff record with 39 total bases.

Which leads to this question ...

In a word, yes. I checked with Mike Rosenbaum, who handles MLB Pipeline's Rays Top 30 and ranked Arozarena 19th on our midseason list. Based on his tools and breakout performance (including a .281/.382/.641 regular season), I told Rosenbaum I thought Arozarena could rank as high as No. 7 and comfortably around No. 10 when he updates the Top 30 in early 2021, and Rosenbaum concurred.

Arozarena's ranking makes more sense than his crazy postseason numbers. Tampa Bay has the best and deepest farm system in baseball, and he came into this season as a 25-year-old who had yet to establish himself as a big leaguer. He put up big numbers in Triple-A in 2019, but so did a lot of guys, and he was repeating the level after a modest performance there the year before.

He's older than a typical prospect, but Arozarena could have solid or better tools across the board. While he can get overly aggressive at the plate, it's hard to argue with the results so far.

Casas, a first-round pick in 2018 and a first baseman in the Red Sox system, sits at No. 71 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list. We don't break prospects down solely by sheer offensive upside, but if we did, he'd rank in the 10-15 range.

Six-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Casas stands out first and foremost with his huge left-handed raw power, which translated into 19 homers (third in the South Atlantic League), 49 extra-base hits (second) and a .472 slugging percentage (fourth) when he was a 19-year-old in Class A last season. But he's more than just a slugger, exhibiting advanced feel for hitting and plate discipline for his age. And while he's limited to first base, he's a good defender with a strong arm for the position.

The Dodgers are still high on Ruiz (No. 68 on the Top 100) and are pleased with the strides he made this summer at their alternate training site. He made some adjustments with his lower half in an attempt to unlock his power -- which led to a homer in his first big league at-bat -- and also focused on incorporating scouting reports into his game calling. He has the potential to make significant contributions when he's a finished product.

Ruiz turned 22 in July and has played only nine games in Triple-A, so there's no need to rush him. Smith is a budding star behind the plate and Austin Barnes is a competent backup, which will allow Ruiz to develop at his own pace next year. Los Angeles could have Smith and Ruiz share catching duties in 2022, just like they did in Double-A two years ago, and they also could get at-bats at DH if it's adopted universally as expected.

Ruiz also would be a very attractive piece of trade bait if the Dodgers wanted to try to pull off another blockbuster after grabbing Mookie Betts from the Red Sox in February. Los Angeles has more catching talent coming too, as 19-year-old Diego Cartaya was MLB Pipeline's top-rated prospect in the 2018 international amateur class.

An outfielder for South Alabama, Wilson ranked ninth on our September list of top college prospects for the 2021 Draft. He's a 6-foot-2, 210-pound left-handed hitter who set a school freshman record with 17 homers while batting .345/.453/.686 in 2019.

Wilson has the potential to hit for both average and power, and he projects to stay in left field because he has average to solid speed and fringy arm strength. He reminds me of a slightly more physical version of Eddie Rosario with more patience at the plate.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.