Gathering information for the BA Top 10 Prospects rankings every offseason never fails to reveal some surprising names.
More often than not, this happens with a young player who is building credentials in weak minors but has potential worthy of being included in the Top 10. But due to the nature of the lost 2020 season, a number of More experienced players also appeared in 2021.
Both types of players are included in this article, in which I identify six emerging Eastern Division Top 10 prospects that caught my eye.
Scouting reports of the 100 BA players ranked in the Top 10 Prospects for US and Eastern National League organizations are available as soon as they are posted online. Or you can read them in the November issue of BA, now available in print or via eEdition on the BA app (subscription required).
Joel Diaz, RHP, Mets
Signed in January, Diaz made his Dominican Summer League debut in July. He did not allow an earned run in his first 10 appearances and finished with a 0.54 ERA which is the lowest for a 17-year-old qualified pitcher in the DSL since 2006. The Mets are encouraged by the combination. of Diaz stuff, athleticism and general feel. He throws at 92-96 mph and already has both the feel of spinning a curve ball and the confidence in his change. Under normal circumstances, Diaz would have been considered for an in-season promotion to the Florida Complex League, but Covid and visa restrictions prevented him in 2021.
Leo Jimenez, SS / 2B, Blue Jays
Jimenez produced one of the big outlier numbers you’ll see in a full season league. In 54 games for Low-A Dunedin, the 20-year-old Panamanian produced a basis percentage of 0.517, the product of 0.315, 51 walks and 21 shots. He has a career home run but is a capable defenseman down center as well as a machine on base. A dislocated shoulder limited Jimenez’s playing time in 2021, so he didn’t qualify for the minor league hitting title, but players who compile an OBP of .500 in full season ball are rare. In the past 40 years, only two skilled hitters have done so: Nick Johnson at 0.525 in 1999 and Gerry Davis at 0.504 in 1981.
Ian Lewis, 2B, Marlins
The Marlins removed Lewis from the Bahamas in 2019, in the same international class that also gave up Eury Perez and Jose Salas for Miami. The combination of power and precision of the Lewis gun is very encouraging. The 18-year-old forward’s isolated .195 slugging placed 12th among Florida Complex League qualifiers and his strikeout rate was the fifth-lowest. Lewis and his FCL Marlins teammates have played home games in a suppressive racing environment – park factor of 73 for races – so his adjusted production is even more impressive than his gross production.
Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles
Mayo could be the key to the Orioles’ 2020 Draft. Signed for over $ 1 million over the slot in the fourth round of the truncated five-round draft, Mayo made his pro debut in 2021, hitting for average and power as he moved on to Low-A Delmarva. Another thing he did was make frequent contact, even as a 6-foot-5 hitter with long levers. Among the 19-year-olds with 200 home plate appearances, Mayo ranked sixth with an isolated strike of .236 and 13th best with an 18.5% strikeout rate.
2021 Toronto Blue Jays Training League roster
Breakdown of the Blue Jays training league roster.
Willy Vasquez, SS, Rays
Coming from the 2019 Rays international signing class, Vasquez made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League that year. Two years later, he became a Top 10 Prospect in a deep Tampa Bay system. Vasquez, 20, combines agility to stay shortstop with improved physique to impact the ball. His base percentage of .382 ranked 11th in the Florida Complex League, with a 20-27 strikeout ratio in 40 games.
Hayden Wesneski, RHP, Yankees
Wesneski developed without the help of traditional player development during the pandemic in 2020, and then in 2021 became one of the Yankees’ best pitching prospects. Sam Houston’s sixth round of State in 2019 hit the triple A this season with a five-length mix headlining a strong fastball and a curveball. Her 3.25 ERA ranked in the top 30 among pitchers with 100 innings in the minors, fully supported by a strikeout minus steps of 21.9% that placed her 29th. That’s impressive for a pitcher who has spent most of the season at Double-A.