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Prospect Roundup

Top 10 Prospects: June 14

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: June 14, 2021, 10:58 am ET

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1. Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

2021 stats: 33 G, .309/.367/.566, 7 HR, 4 SB, 11 BB, 17 SO at Triple-A Durham. 

Another strong week for Franco, and honestly these updates are gonna start getting boring. This isn't Vladimir Guerrero Jr. flirting with .400 in Triple-A or anything like that, but the fact that the 20-year-old is doing it from the shortstop position and isn't old enough to buy alcohol until March? Yeah, this kid is special. There's no ETA here, but it's hard to imagine that Tampa Bay doesn't give him his opportunity this summer. Stay patient.

2. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle Mariners

2021 stats: 10 G, .302/.326/.558, 3 HR, 3 SB, 2 BB, 10 SO at Triple-A Tacoma; 23 G, .096/.185/.193, 2 HR, 3 SB, 8 BB, 26 SO at Seattle. 

And speaking of staying patient. I would feel bad about talking up Kelenic as much as I did if everyone else wasn't doing the same thing. That being said, there's no denying that this was a failure. And that being said, the moment Kelenic is back in Seattle, he should be added to fantasy rosters. As bad as he was, there were some glimpses -- momentary they may have been -- of the five-category talent. There are plenty -- plenty -- of talented players who have struggled in their first taste of the majors. There's no reason -- in my eye -- that Kelenic can't be one of them.

3. Vidal Brujan, INF/OF, Tampa Bay Rays

2021 stats: 22 G, .282/.379/.508, 7 HR, 14 SB, 20 BB, 22 SO at Triple-A Durham.

And speaking of struggles. Brujan had a rough weekend against Charlotte, going 1-for-12. He hasn't homered in the month of June, and it shouldn't concern fantasy managers whatsoever. Considering how hot Brujan was to begin the year, there was going to be some natural regression, and the overall numbers for the 23-year-old are still awfully impressive. Brujan is "only" eligible at second base right now, but he's played all over the field for the Bulls, and should do the same for the Rays when he gets that call. 

4. Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox

2021 stats: 24 G, .278/.362/.610, 10 HR, 6 SB, 14 BB, 28 SO at Triple-A Worcester. 

Congrats to Duran on helping Team USA qualify for the Olympics. He returned on June 8 after missing a couple of weeks to be with the team, and the 24-year-old has homered in three-of-four games, including going deep in back-to-back games to end the weekend. Duran is ready offensively, and he's got a chance to help fantasy rosters with his power, speed and a pretty solid hit-tool, as well. Only question here -- and it's the question of any/every prospect right now -- is when the Red Sox add him to their roster. At this point in the season, he's worth a roster stash.

5. Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

2021 stats: 5 G, 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 9 BB 33 SO at Triple-A Buffalo

Pearson made his best start of the year on Thursday, firing five scoreless innings and striking out six against Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It's nice to see after he had allowed nine runs over his last seven innings in the previous two outings. Pearson has some of the best stuff in baseball, and it's worth pointing out that he's still getting into the swing of things after dealing with both a groin and shoulder injury. There's risk in this profile to be sure -- especially for 2021 -- but the reward outweighs the risk.

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6. Cal Raleigh, C, Seattle Mariners

2021 stats: 27 G, .354/.409/.655, 6 HR, 2 SB, 8 BB, 15 SO at Triple-A Tacoma.

Raleigh now has a 20-game hitting streak after going 2-for-4 on Friday. He was also ejected from that game and not in the lineup for Saturday's game with Sunday's being canceled. Are there more talented catching prospects in baseball? Absolutely, and if Joey Bart or Luis Campusano or a few other backstops had the same type of playing time opportunity as Raleigh they'd be in this spot instead. They do not, and Raleigh has a chance to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate. We should see Raleigh up relatively soon, and it'd be a major upset if he wasn't catching every day for the Mariners around the All-Star break.

7. Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta Braves

2021 stats: 28 G, .279/.374/.414, 3 HR, 8 SB, 12 BB, 38 SO at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Waters was hitting .243 on May 29, so it doesn't take a math expert to see how hot he's been with the bat in the month of June. He hasn't been hitting for much pop, but that's not really Waters' strength, anyway. What he can do is hit for average -- despite the strikeout issues -- and steal bases. The next Atlanta outfielder up will almost assuredly be Cristian Pache, but Waters offers more fantasy upside because of his ability to steal bags and a higher likelihood to hit for average. 

8. Nolan Gorman, INF, St. Louis Cardinals

2021 stats: 34 G, .316/388/.566, 10 HR, 3 SB, 16 BB, 35 SO at Double-A Springfield.

Remember, this list is just as much about opportunity as it is the chance that a player can succeed when given that opportunity. That's why I'm raking Gorman higher here than someone like Bobby Witt Jr. even if Witt Jr. is a vastly superior prospect in the long-term. And that's no shot at Gorman. The 21-year-old infielder has clobbered Double-A pitching -- particularly as of late with seven homers in last five games including five in back-to-back games over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are struggling to score runs as of late, and getting very little production from second base. Guess what position Gorman has been playing as of late? There's absolutely no lock that Gorman makes his debut this year, but he's someone fantasy managers have to keep on their radar, and if you can afford to "waste" a bench spot, he's certainly worth consideration.

9. Jesus Sanchez, OF, Miami Marlins

2021 stats: 33 G, .374/.400/.643, 9 HR, 1 SB, 9 BB, 27 SO at Triple-A Jacksonville.

Sanchez’s numbers are excellent, and the crazy thing is, these are his stats despite slashing just .257/.366/.371 over his last 10 games. There was going to be some regression because baseball is too hard to see you hit .421/.450/.816 like Sanchez was on May 27, but it’s been excellent to see a reminder of just how talented the 23-year-old is over the first month of the season. Sanchez struggled mightily in his 25 at-bats in 2020, but don’t hold that against him too much. He has a chance to be a five-category contributor someday, and he can help in a few when he comes back to Miami this summer.

10. Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

2021 stats: 7 G, 41 IP, 1.98 ERA, 14 BB, 60 SO at Double-A Chattanooga.

Greene faced off against Max Meyer on Friday in front of a lot of intrigued folks from around the baseball industry. He gave up two hits, struck out nine and showed off his dazzling fastball and ever-so-improved breaking-ball. He did walk four in the outing, but Greene generally throws strikes with all of his pitches, and those pitches are very, very good. Again, there's no guarantee that we see the 21-year-old pitching for the Reds this year; you could argue that Nick Lodolo -- who is also in Chattanooga and dominating with a 0.90 ERA -- is more likely to spend time in Cincinnati, but Greene is being promoted to Triple-A for his next start, and there is no pitching prospect in baseball with more upside, and if he gets that call, fantasy managers have to be ready to add. Quickly. 

Next in line: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres; Jeter Downs, INF, Boston Red Sox; Bobby Witt Jr., INF, Kansas City Royals; Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers; Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City Royals

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for NBC Sports EDGE and also appears on the Circling the Bases Podcast.