As the focus shifts to the upcoming 2021 Major League Baseball season, many of baseball’s top pitching prospects look to shine and make their mark on today’s game. Leading the future of baseball, highly-anticipated arms include the first overall selection of the 2018 draft Casey Mize, arguably Miami’s best pitching prospect since the late Jose Fernandez, Sixto Sanchez, the crafty left-hander MacKenzie Gore and hard-throwing right-handers Nate Pearson and Forest Whitley. These five prospects rank among the best in Minor League Baseball and look to make an immediate impact at the big league level.
MacKenzie Gore – LHP, San Diego Padres
It seemed likely that 2020 would mark the debut of highly-sought pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore. From San Diego’s top five prospects, two were called up during the previous season. Neither were Gore. Though post-pandemic, all signs are pointing to a 2021 early season call-up. Gore, 22, brings the entire package to the mound in San Diego. The athletic left-hander can dice up any hitter with his crafty off-speed repertoire along with his off-set and funky left-handed delivery. Projected to land at the front of the rotation in ‘America’s Finest City’, Gore headlines the future of the San Diego Padres in a loaded farm system. Gore’s plus command side-by-side with his upper-90s fastball will serve him no setbacks on the big stage.
Casey Mize – RHP, Detroit Tigers
The first overall pick in the 2018 draft, Casey Mize, dabbled around the big league level throughout the 2020 shortened season. Only appearing in seven games, Mize will look to improve and grow as a potential franchise ace in Detroit. Followed by top prospects Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal in the rotation, Mize will be the workhorse in the front lines. With a handful of pitches in his back pocket, Mize can attack teams in any which way. His wiffleball-esque splitter will certainly be talked about for years to come. Along with a lethal cutter and hooking slider, Mize will unquestionably be a household name in the internet icon Rob Friedman’s ‘Pitching Ninja’. Leading the Detroit Tigers’ rebuild, Mize will be the top arm in the city for years to come.
Sixto Sanchez – RHP, Miami Marlins
One of the highest praised pitching prospects in all of baseball, Sixto Sanchez will look to lead the resurgence of the up-and-coming Miami Marlins. In seven big league appearances, Sanchez has put on a show. Striking out 33 while holding opposing hitters to a batting average of .250, Sanchez is just getting started. The sheer power and force in Sanchez’ windup is unmatched as his fastball parks around 97 MPH. With pinpoint accuracy paired with a sinking two-seam fastball and a diving change up, the sky’s the limit for the rising phenom. Only a rookie, Sanchez is one of the brightest stars in baseball and will be a force to be reckoned with in the 305.
Nate Pearson – RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Standing a 6-foot-6, 250 lbs, Nate Pearson is more of a NFL tight end rather than a big league starting pitcher. Pound-for-pound one of the strongest and dominating young prospects in the game will look to lead the rising Toronto rotation into deep postseason waters. A young core built around Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vladmir Guerrero Jr., and now Nate Pearson, will bring highlights upon highlights north of the border. Effortlessly lighting up the radar gun with his sucker-punching fastball that tops at 104 MPH, Pearson will build his own legacy. Drawing comparisons to Alrodis Chapman, the right-hander’s upper-80s slider is among the best in Toronto’s farm system. With five games under his belt during the 2020 season, Pearson will look to complete his rookie year as a threat in the AL East.
Forrest Whitley – RHP, Houston Astros
Although barring setbacks through his Minor League career, Forrest Whitley has shifted his focus into becoming a big league star. The number one overall prospect in the Houston Astros’ farm system brings a five-pitch mix that can’t be topped. Whitley can attack you with a cut or sink fastball that sits at around 95 MPH. Utilizing a down-breaking curveball and slider, which both feature high spin rates, are able to keep hitters off balance. At 6-foot-7, Whitley’s down-sloping generates sweeping power. If consistency remains a constant throughout his big league time, Houston could have another star in the making. A perennial All-Star is in clear front sight for the number one overall prospect.
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