Jasson Dominguez and MLB's 25 Best Prospects 20 Years Old or Younger

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2021

Jasson Dominguez and MLB's 25 Best Prospects 20 Years Old or Younger

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The future of baseball is in good hands.

    Even with a number of hyped prospects moving on to the majors this season, including consensus No. 1 overall Wander Franco, the minor league ranks are still loaded with future stars.

    That's especially true in the lower levels of the minors, where a number of high-ceiling youngsters are taking aim at being baseball's next superstar.

    From New York Yankees phenom Jasson Dominguez to Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez to future NL West rivals Marco Luciano and CJ Abrams, there is no shortage of elite talent that is still not old enough to stroll over to the concession stand and order a beer.

    Ahead we've ranked the top 25 prospects who are 20 or younger, based on current production, future upside and long-term expectations.

    Enjoy!

Honorable Mentions

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    Blaze Jordan
    Blaze JordanJason Miller/Getty Images

    Right-Handed Pitchers: Matt Allan (NYM), Nick Bitsko (TB), Jared Kelley (CWS), Andrew Painter (PHI), Eury Perez (MIA), Chase Petty (MIN), Simeon Woods Richardson (MIN)

    Left-Handed Pitchers: Blake Walston (ARI)

    Catchers: Harry Ford (SEA), Joe Mack (MIA), Drew Romo (COL)

    Infielders: SS Aeverson Arteaga (SF), SS Cristian Hernandez (CHC), SS Brady House (WAS), SS Ed Howard (CHC), 3B Blaze Jordan (BOS), SS Colson Montgomery (CWS), SS Max Muncy (OAK), 3B Jhonkensy Noel (CLE), SS Kyren Paris (LAA), SS Liover Peguero (PIT), SS Reginald Preciado (CHC), SS Robert Puason (OAK), SS Brayan Rocchio (CLE)

    Outfielders: Pete Crow-Armstrong (CHC), Michael Harris (ATL), Austin Hendrick (CIN), Benny Montgomery (COL), Andy Pages (LAD), Hedbert Perez (MIL), George Valera (CLE)

Nos. 25-21

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    Ronny Mauricio
    Ronny MauricioRich Schultz/Getty Images

    25. LHP Kyle Harrison, San Francisco Giants (Age: 20)

    The Giants gave Harrison a $2.5 million signing bonus as a third-round pick in 2020, roughly the slot-value equivalent of the No. 28 overall selection. With three plus pitches and a good feel for pitching, the 6'2", 200-pound southpaw has quickly made that look like a wise investment with a 3.86 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 74.2 innings at Single-A.

             

    24. RHP Daniel Espino, Cleveland (Age: 20)

    With some effort in his delivery and long arm action, questions remain about whether Espino will stick as a starter, but his stuff is absolutely electric. With a 70-grade fastball and 60-grade slider, he has racked up 110 strikeouts in 65.2 innings between Single-A and High-A. He has ace upside with a closer floor.

         

    23. SS Kahlil Watson, Miami Marlins (Age: 18)

    Watson played his way into the top tier of prep prospects in the 2021 draft with a strong spring, and he has potentially above-average tools across the board. There is surprising power packed into his 5'9", 178-pound physique coupled with an advanced hit tool. He has the defensive chops to stick at shortstop and the athleticism to move around the diamond as needed.

         

    22. SS Ronny Mauricio, New York Mets (Age: 20)

    A hyped prospect since he signed for $2.1 million as part of the 2017 international class, Mauricio remains more upside than current production. There is still a ton of physical projection in his 6'3", 166-pound frame, and his power is starting to show up in games, with 15 home runs in 83 games at High-A. He might still be a few years away, but he has impact potential.

           

    21. SS Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 20)

    The No. 42 overall pick in the same draft that saw the O's select Adley Rutschman at No. 1 overall, Henderson offers a 55-hit/60-power offensive profile. In 82 games between Single-A and High-A, he's hitting .256/.342/.460 with 21 doubles, 13 home runs and 12 steals. At 6'2" and 210 pounds might ultimately fit best at third base.

Nos. 20-16

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    Quinn Priester
    Quinn PriesterRob Tringali/Getty Images

    20. RHP Mick Abel, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 20)

    Abel has four average-or-better pitches and an extremely projectable 6'5", 190-pound frame. The No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 draft has more present pitchability than most pitchers his age, and he has more than held his own in his pro debut. He has a 4.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 66 strikeouts in 44.2 innings while limiting opposing hitters to a .174 average in full-season ball.

           

    19. RHP Jackson Jobe, Detroit Tigers (Age: 19)

    It's not out of the question to think Jobe could wind up being the best pitcher taken in the 2020 draft. With a mid-90s fastball, a plus changeup, and a 70-grade slider that might have been the best breaking pitch in the entire class, he has one of the most advanced arsenals of any prep pitcher in recent memory. Detroit has assembled quite the collection of young arms.

           

    18. OF Luis Matos, San Francisco Giants (Age: 19)

    One of the breakout prospects of 2021, Matos is hitting .326/.367/.513 with 27 doubles, 12 home runs and 71 RBI in 83 games at Single-A. Signed for $725,000 in the same 2018 international class that was headlined by fellow Giants prospect Marco Luciano, he has a 60-grade hit tool and budding raw power in a still developing 5'11", 160-pound body.

         

    17. SS Orelvis Martinez, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 19)

    The Blue Jays have a wealth of middle infield talent, and Martinez could wind up being the best of the bunch among their current minor league crop. With a 55-hit/60-power profile, he is hitting .265/.345/.547 with 23 doubles, 23 home runs and 78 RBI in 84 games between Single-A and High-A. He could grow out of shortstop and shift to third base, but his power will play at a corner spot.

         

    16. RHP Quinn Priester, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 20)

    Priester has added significant strength to his physique since going No. 18 overall in the 2019 draft as a pop-up prospect in cold-weather Illinois, and his fastball velocity has ticked up as a result. The 6'3", 215-pound right-hander now touches 98 mph with his heater, and he backs it with three above-average offspeed pitches. Pitching at High-A this season, he has a 2.80 ERA in 74 innings with a .219 opponents' batting average.

Nos. 15-11

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    Robert Hassell lll
    Robert Hassell lllRob Leiter/Getty Images

    15. SS Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees (Age: 20)

    There is arguably no prospect who has raised his stock more in 2021 than Volpe, who was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2019 draft. After a lackluster showing in his pro debut, he has been absolutely raking this season, hitting .299/.433/.602 with 28 doubles, 19 home runs, 69 RBI, 87 runs scored and 27 steals. That offensive production from a player who is poised to stick at shortstop has quickly made him an elite prospect.

          

    14. OF Zac Veen, Colorado Rockies (Age: 19)

    With a smooth left-handed swing and an uber-projectable 6'4", 190-pound frame, Veen has drawn some comparisons to a young Cody Bellinger. The No. 9 overall pick and second prep bat taken after Robert Hassell lll in the 2020 draft, Veen is hitting .298/.394/.514 with 22 doubles, 14 home runs, 62 RBI and 30 steals in 86 games at Single-A.

           

    13. C Diego Cartaya, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 19)

    The decision to include catcher Keibert Ruiz in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner blockbuster with the Washington Nationals was no doubt made easier by the continued development of Cartaya. Signed out of Venezuela for $2.5 million in 2018, he made his stateside debut at 17. He is hitting .298/.409/.614 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 31 games at Single-A this year, and he continues to showcase solid receiving skills and a strong arm.

           

    12. 3B Jordan Walker, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 19)

    With an imposing 6'5", 220-pound frame and terrific bat speed, Walker had the best raw power of anyone not named Spencer Torkelson in the 2020 draft class. The Cardinals scooped him up at No. 21 overall, and he's hitting .328/.404/.543 with 22 doubles, eight home runs and 31 RBI in 51 games, earning a midseason promotion to High-A in his pro debut.

         

    11. OF Robert Hassell lll, San Diego Padres (Age: 20)

    The Padres were locked in on Hassell throughout the predraft process, so it was no surprise when they made him the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 draft. One of the best pure hitters in his class, he is hitting .312/.407/.453 with 34 extra-base hits in 84 games at Single-A. His offensive profile is hit-over-power, but he should be a well-rounded contributor in all facets of the game.

10. C Tyler Soderstrom, Oakland Athletics

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    Mary DeCicco/Getty Images

    Age: 19

    The Oakland Athletics appear to have walked away with one of the steals of the 2020 draft when they selected Tyler Soderstrom with the No. 26 overall pick.

    It's not often a prep catching prospect has one of the best hit tools in the draft class, and while he has the tools to stick behind the plate, he's athletic enough to move elsewhere if the organization decides to fast-track his bat.

    With a 60-hit/50-power profile, he's batting .306/.390/.568 with 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 49 RBI in 57 games at Single-A, and he earned a spot in the Futures Game during All-Star weekend.

9. SS Jordan Lawlar, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    A candidate to go No. 1 overall in this year's draft, Jordan Lawlar ended up slipping to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he inked an above-slot $6.7 million bonus as the sixth overall selection.

    A rare five-tool talent at the shortstop position, he has drawn comparisons to Bobby Witt Jr., and he offers that same level of upside if everything clicks in the coming years.

    MLB.com called him a "more polished hitter" than Witt was at the same age, and with an advanced approach and quick hands, he has the offensive potential to quickly develop into one of the game's top-tier prospects in the coming years.

8. SS Marcelo Mayer, Boston Red Sox

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Age: 18

    Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar will forever be linked as the two elite prep shortstop prospects in the 2021 draft class. Mayer went two picks higher to the Boston Red Sox at No. 4 overall, but he actually signed for slightly less money with a $6.7 million bonus that was still a franchise record.

    Mayer has a smooth left-handed stroke with a 60-grade hit tool and the potential for plenty of power to come as his 6'3", 188-pound frame fills out. He is not quite as athletic as Lawlar with average-at-best speed, but he should have no problem sticking at shortstop.

    He has been compared to a mix of Brandon Crawford and Corey Seager, and the Red Sox would no doubt be pleased with that outcome.

7. C Francisco Alvarez, New York Mets

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Age: 19

    Francisco Alvarez gave a glimpse of what's to come when he hit .312/.407/.510 in 42 games while making his pro debut stateside as a 17-year-old.

    He has made the leap to full-season ball this year and continued to rise the prospect ranks by hitting .278/.391/.560 with 17 doubles, 18 home runs and 59 RBI in 78 games between Single-A and High-A.

    "He just has a look that's different than a lot of players. It's a confidence," Mets field coordinator Kevin Boles told Josh Norris of Baseball America. "His recognition of the strike zone has improved since I've seen him in the last year, and it's only going to get better. He's definitely got strength, upper-half strength, and balance to his lower half. There's times he gets excited at the plate, and I would too if I had that type of ability."

    His defensive game is still developing, but all signs point to him being an above-average catcher, and with James McCann signed through 2024, the Mets have no reason to rush him.

6. SS Noelvi Marte, Seattle Mariners

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    Noelvi Marte hit .309/.371/.511 with 31 extra-base hits in 65 games in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, then spent last year gaining valuable experience as one of the youngest players at the Seattle Mariners alternate site.

    He jumped right to Single-A for his stateside debut, and he has cemented his standing as an elite prospect, hitting .273/.357/.476 with 17 doubles, 17 home runs, 63 RBI and 21 steals in 27 attempts.

    The 6'1", 181-pound infielder has also made significant strides defensively at shortstop, though it remains to be seen if he'll stick there long-term or wind up shifting to third base, where his budding power should play just fine. The Mariners have assembled a dynamic young core, and Marte is emerging as a major piece of their future plans.

5. OF Jasson Dominguez, New York Yankees

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Age: 18

    Jasson Dominguez has generational tools with a chance to be a true superstar for the New York Yankees once he reaches the majors, but it's hard to rank him any higher based on 32 games in the lower levels of the minors.

    However, there is no ignoring the fanfare.

    "The most hyped and tooled-up international prospect in recent memory, Dominguez engenders comparisons to some of the best athletes in baseball history, such as Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout," wrote MLB.com.

    On potential and raw tools alone, he's an elite prospect, and the fact that he's already playing at Single-A when he won't turn 19 years old until February speaks to the Yankees' confidence in his ability to handle a challenge.

4. SS CJ Abrams, San Diego Padres

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    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    CJ Abrams might be pushing for a September call-up if not for a season-ending leg injury that cut his 2021 campaign short in early July.

    With a 60-grade hit tool and legitimate top-of-the-scale 80-grade speed, he has the tools to be a dynamic leadoff hitter, and he has done nothing but hit since going No. 6 overall in the 2019 draft.

    In 348 plate appearances as a pro, he is a .343/.398/.529 hitter with 40 extra-base hits and 28 steals, and he was holding his own at Double-A to start the year before going down.

    With Fernando Tatis Jr. likely to man shortstop in San Diego for the foreseeable future, he could shift to second base or center field, but his athleticism should make for an easy transition.

3. OF Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers

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    Mike Carlson/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    One of the best pure hitters to be plucked from the prep ranks in years, Riley Greene has rocketed through the minors since the Detroit Tigers selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

    The 6'3", 200-pound outfielder opened the season at Double-A and hit .298/.381/.525 with 16 doubles, 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 84 games as one of the youngest players at that level before he was promoted to Triple-A earlier this week.

    His hit tool is so advanced, he could be in the majors by next season, and there is still untapped power potential that figures to show up more regularly in games as he continues to mature.

    He could be hitting alongside Spencer Torkelson in the middle of the Detroit lineup for years to come.

2. SS Marco Luciano, San Francisco Giants

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Age: 19

    Marco Luciano might be the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball before his time in the San Francisco Giants minor league system is over.

    With "lightning fast" bat speed and tremendous raw power, he has regularly turned heads since reaching Low-A ball as a 17-year-old in 2019.

    The Giants sent him to Single-A San Jose to begin the 2020 season, and he forced his way up a level by hitting .278/.373/.556 with 14 doubles, 18 home runs and 57 RBI in 70 games. He has scuffled a bit since making the jump to High-A, but that's to be expected for a player who won't turn 20 until September.

    Whether he sticks at shortstop or outgrows the position and shifts to third base or right field, he has as much power potential as any prospect in baseball and should occupy a spot in the middle of the San Francisco lineup in the not-too-distant future.

1. OF Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

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    Abbie Parr/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    While Kyle Lewis won AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2020 and Jarred Kelenic broke into the big leagues with as much hype as any rookie this season, Julio Rodriguez has a chance to be the best outfielder on the Seattle Mariners roster for years to come.

    He has hit every step of the way so far, including a .309/.406/.545 line with 22 extra-base hits in 45 games between High-A and Double-A this year, and he won't turn 21 years old until after the conclusion of the regular season.

    On top of the experience he has gained in the upper levels of the minors this year, he also represented the Dominican Republic in the Olympics, hitting .417/.444/.625 with two doubles and one home run as one of the youngest players on the roster.

    With a 60-hit/65-power offensive profile, he ticks all the boxes to be a middle-of-the-order star.

                  

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, and accurate through Wednesday's games.

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