One of the tough things about having a Top 100 prospect list is that you are literally limited to just 100 prospects. While comfortable with the names that were included in that list, there are certainly a great deal more than 100 players that currently qualify as potential impact MLB players.
So, we thought we’d share a few of the names that just missed the list, and tell you why they have a chance to be top 100 prospects before the end of the season.
And, of course, you can check out that Top 100 prospect list by checking out the NBC Sports EDGE 2021 Draft Guide. It’s available in stores now, or you can get the online version right here, which is updated with lots of cool stuff in the coming weeks.
Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox -- Duran has been a prospect that I’ve put in and out of my Top 100 lists that are updated weekly, and assuming several of the names in this year’s list graduate soon, he won’t be out for very long. The 24-year-old is a double-plus -- or 70-grade on the 20-80 scouting scale -- runner, and he stole 46 bases in 2019 while reaching Double-A. The 2018 seventh-round pick also has a chance to hit for average with a smooth, line-drive swing from the left side, and while he won’t hit many homers, he will put the ball into the gaps and use his wheels to put up his share of doubles. Duran isn’t a great defender, but he’s good enough to stay in the outfield. He could be hitting at or near the top of the Boston lineup someday, and he’s nearly ready to go.
Brandon Marsh, OF, Los Angeles Angels -- A second-round pick out of Buford High School in Georgia, Marsh’s development hasn’t exactly been speedy, but he’s shown impressive talent at every stop in his time in the Los Angeles system. Once considered power over hit, Marsh now has a chance to have a plus hit tool, as he makes hard contact to all parts of the field and shows a solid approach at the plate. There’s power in his left-handed stroke, as well, but he’s more 15-to-20 homers than someone who is going to be among the league leaders. He’s a very good athlete -- Marsh was a quality football prospect as a prep -- and he should put up a similar number of steals to those roundtrippers. Add in quality defense, and Marsh should be a regular for the Angels; maybe as soon as this summer.
Braden Shewmake, SS, Atlanta Braves -- The Braves made Shewmake the 21st pick in the draft in 2019, and based on what he’s shown as a pro, that is going to go down as a steal. The former Texas A&M star isn’t going to hit for power, but he has outstanding hand-eye coordination along with selectivity at the plate, so it’s easy to imagine him hitting for average at the highest level. He’s also an above-average runner who gets excellent jumps, so there’s the potential for 20-plus steals, as well. Shewmake is also a strong defensive player, and shouldn’t have to change positions. This is more high-floor than high-ceiling, but that’s not an insult; Shewmake can play.
Gerald Perdomo, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks -- Prospect 101, if you were curious. Perdomo is a lock to stick at shortstop; he’s the type of defender who could rank among the league leaders in defensive WAR someday. That certainly helps his fantasy ranking because shortstop is a premium position, but there’s offensive upside in his bat as well. He’s a plus runner who should provide a decent number of steals -- he’s stolen 50 over his last two full seasons -- and the 21-year-old sprays line drives to all parts of the park. There’s also a bit of pop in his bat, but expecting more than 15 homers in a year is probably expecting too much. Perdomo has work to be done, but he has the potential to be a starting shortstop for a very long time.
Orelvis Martinez, SS, Toronto Blue Jays -- With all due respect to the prospects listed above, the one with the highest ceiling is Martinez. Signed out of Santo Domingo for $3.5 million in 2018, the 19-year-old shows a swing that gives him the potential to hit for both average and power at the highest level. The speed is a good notch below those in terms of grades, but he’s not slow, and should be able to provide close to double-digit steals if given the opportunity to run enough. He has an excellent throwing arm, but there are some question marks about whether he will be able to stick at shortstop. If he can he’s a potential superstar, but even at the hot corner, Martinez’s bat makes him one of the best teenage prospects in the sport.
Josiah Gray, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Gray was traded to the Dodgers in the deal for Alex Wood after being the 72nd pick in the 2018 draft, and he is yet another talented arm that Los Angeles could deploy in 2021. There’s loads of movement on his fastball, and it touches the mid 90s on the regular. He complements that heater with an above-average slider, and he’ll mix in a slower curve and a decent change for good measure. On top of that, Gray pounds the strike zone with all four pitches, with command that could grade plus when all is said and done. He’s a better “real life” prospect than a fantasy one, but he can certainly help in the latter, as well.
Edward Cabrera, RHP, Miami Marlins -- Cabrera was tough to leave off this list, and is probably the most “controversial” prospect to not make the Top 100. He can touch triple digits with his fastball, and he has another out pitch in his slider. Those pitches are good, but Cabrera also might have a plus-plus change as well. The question mark with Cabrera is his command. He doesn’t issue a ton of walks, but he doesn’t do a great job of locating his arsenal, and he hasn’t missed bats at the level you’d expect for someone with this kind of stuff. Cabrera’s potential is enticing, but there’s a little more volatility in this profile than you’d expect.
Braxton Garrett, LHP, Miami Marlins -- Garrett made two starts for the Marlins in 2020 -- one good, one not-so-good -- and should get a chance to compete for a starting spot in the Grapefruit League this spring. The seventh pick of the 2016 draft, the 23-year-old dealt with Tommy John surgery, but when healthy he’s shown an above-average fastball that plays up because he locates it to all four quadrants. His curveball has a chance to be an out pitch, and he also has an above-average change at his disposal, as well. Garrett’s stuff is good, but it’s his ability to locate it that gives him the best chance for success. There are pitching prospects with a higher ceiling, but Garrett has a pretty high one himself with a very high floor.
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Jhoan Duran, RHP, Minnesota Twins -- Duran throws a pitch that’s called a “splinker” and that should be enough for him to be added to the Top 100 list. It’s a combination of a splitter and a sinker, and it’s a potential swing-and-miss pitch at the highest level. The 23-year-old also has a fastball that can get up to 99 mph, and he does a pretty good job of locating those pitches for strikes. The issue with Duran right now is his breaking ball, as he has just an average curve, and at times it’s below-average. If that pitch can be average or better on a more consistent basis he’s a potential top-of-the-rotation starter, but as is, he still has the stuff to be a strong fantasy option.
DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles -- A first-round pick in 2017 -- 21st overall -- Hall has shown impressive swing-and-miss stuff in his time with the Baltimore system; as seen in his 228 strikeouts over 185 1/3 minor-league innings. It often starts with a fastball that can get as high as 99 mph, and he has two more potential swing-and-miss offerings in his curveball and change. What Hall doesn’t have is great command, and walks could be an issue as he doesn’t repeat his delivery all that well despite being a quality athlete. There’s a chance Hall could have to move to the bullpen someday, but he has the stuff to pitch at or near the top of a rotation someday. Take the bitter with the better.