The future is here. As the calendar turns to the 2021 Major League Baseball season, many prospects will have their opportunity to shine under the bright lights. With a plethora of talent in store for the next generation of baseball, only a few prospects stand above the rest. When asked to build a “dynasty defense”, a select few player came to mind. Currently ranked numbers one and two on MLB.com’s prospect rankings, Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco and Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman take the second base and catcher positions, respectively. At the corners, you can’t forget to mention third overall picks Andrew Vaughn and Alec Bohm at first base and third base, respectively. Already a top player in the game, Fernando Tatis Jr. occupies the shortstop position as he projects to land among the greats. These select players are anticipated and expected to showcase excellent Major League careers down the road.
C: Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles
Selected first overall in the 2018 MLB draft, Oregon State product Adley Rutschman is considered the most talented catching prospect Minnesota’s Joe Mauer. Rutschman, 22, currently plays for Single A-Delmarva with hopes to jump up the Minor League ranks as soon as possible. Evaluators already consider Rutschman a top catcher in today’s game as he possesses elite skills behind the plate. Standing at 6-foot-2, 200 lbs, Rutschman has a strong switch-hitting tool that will be an instant impact in Baltimore. Projected to debut in 2022, Rutschman will give the Orioles a much-needed lineup booster. With no hesitation, Adley Rutschman will have smooth sailing once he takes on the main stage
Behind the dish, scouts and evaluators rave about the talent and skill set Rutschman holds. Only 22 years old, he has the dominating ability to call his own game with no stutter. Many pin the title, “a pitcher’s best friend” on Rutschman and there’s no questioning into why. In addition to his strong arm, the young and eager prospect moves extremely well behind the plate. With such a high-ceiling as the current number two prospect in baseball, Baltimore will have a franchise backstop for years to come.
1B: Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox
Arguably the most anticipated first base prospect in 20 years, the Chicago White Sox have once again struck gold. Apart from their young core in Eloy Jiminez, Yoan Moncada, Nick Madrigal, Micker Adolfo, Tim Anderson and their Cy Young worthy pitching staff, Andrew Vaughn rounds out the star-studded infield. Vaughn, 22, plays for High A-Winston-Salem and has shredded the competition of recent. In 55 games, Vaughn connected on 57 hits, 17 doubles, six home runs, 36 RBIS and 30 BB. Vaughn also held a batting slash line of .378/.384/.449 in 2019. Keeping it simple at the plate and staying in his comfort zone, Vaughn will have no problem battling big league material as he projects to be a .300 hitter with 30 homers and 80 walks on an annual basis.
Furnished by a strong young core around the diamond, Vaughn is the last piece to Chicago’s rebuilding puzzle. In five years, or even less, Andrew Vaughn will be a perennial All-Star and Silver Slugger award winner. Many anticipate his ceiling to be prime Miguel Cabrera. With the White Sox ready for contention, Vaughn looks to debut in 2021 as he’ll be a key piece in Tony La Russa’s ballclub.
2B: Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
The unanimous number one overall prospect across all boards, Wander Franco, is every organization’s dream player. Franco, 19, signed in the 2017-2018 international class and has solidified himself one of baseball’s most exciting players. Tearing up the Minor Leagues, Franco added more than a couple of MVPs and All-Star appearances to his young résumé. If you were to build a franchise from scratch for the next five to ten years, Wander Franco would be an easy first selection. Franco has the hitting ability that could belong with the greats and the defensive presence that is unmatched. A switch-hitter at the plate, the Rays’ top prospect brings a strong bat and Rickey Henderson-esque speed to the table. Only 19, Franco’s power could be considered at the top of the ranks today.
Compared to Fransisco Lindor at the shortstop position, Franco brings a silky smooth defensive craftsmanship as well as clean footwork to the diamond. Even with very little experience under his belt, Franco still carries himself as a clubhouse leader with veteran-like confidence. When the dust settles in Tampa Bay, Wander Franco will go down as one of the best middle infielders to ever put on a Rays’ uniform.
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Revolutionizing baseball, Fernando Tatis Jr. is already a top-five player in today’s game. From his jaw-dropping plays at shortstop, to his moon-shot home runs (along with his bat flips) Tatis Jr. plays baseball the right way: with fun. A superstar in the making, Tatis Jr. has two full big league seasons under his belt. In his rookie year, 2019, the Padres’ shortstop burst onto the scene as he finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting. In 2020, Tatis Jr. found his groove and took acceleration in full stride. Finishing with a slash line of .277/.571/.937 with 62 hits and 17 home runs in 59 games, Tatis Jr. finished fourth in NL MVP voting. Bring highlights upon highlights, Tatis Jr. is a spectacle to see. As the MVP award went to Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman, Tatis Jr. will surely be a household name in the MVP conversation for a long time to come.
Arguably the face of baseball, Fernando Tatis Jr. has an unprecedented amount of potential in store. Wiring his own script, Tatis Jr. will be looked at as an influential role model in the new generation of Major League Baseball. Bringing excitement, fun and joy to the game, Tatis Jr. should be well-suited for a strong career in San Diego as the Padres look to capture the NL West.
3B: Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies
The number one overall prospect in Philadelphia’s farm system, Alec Bohm, has graduated to the big leagues after just two years in the Minor Leagues. After being selected third overall in the 2018 draft out of Wichita State University, Bohm has shot up the Minor League ranks. On six different teams, Bohm played in a total of 165 games and finished with 180 hits, 97 RBIs, 21 home runs and a .293 batting average. Impressive, at the least. With above-average power at the plate, Bohm has the ability to drive the ball anywhere in the field at Citizens Bank Park. The 6-foot-5 third-baseman is drawing comparisons to Kris Bryant, which speaks for itself. Bringing power and potential Gold Glove defensive skills, Bohm has the opportunity to flourish in Philadelphia.
As one of the most anticipated third baseman to be called up in a while, Bohm will look to be a building-block piece in the rebuilding of the Philadelphia Phillies along with stars such as Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. With the 2021 season right around the corner, Bohm will enter his sophomore season in looks to improve, learn and gain experience from his rookie outing.
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