The Stash, Week 13: Top 10 Hitting Prospects To Stash in 2021

Upside production just waiting to be stashed.

Every Sunday during the 2021 season, I will be posting a list of 10 hitting prospects to stash in redraft leagues. This is important because, despite this being a dynasty article, I am solely evaluating players for their ability to impact fantasy teams in 2021—and not beyond.

Wander time is officially here, as the young budding superstar has taken quite nicely to his new digs in Tampa Bay. It clears the way for Jarred Kelenic to reclaim the top spot on the list as we wait for his return to Seattle.

Graduations from Isaac Paredes and Jesús Sánchez also clear space for another Seattle player, catcher Cal Raleighto join the list alongside Arizona 1B Seth Beer.

(Note: Paredes was sent to Triple-A shortly before this article was completed, but his poor performance and constant up-and-down from Toledo to Detroit kick him off the list anyway, at least for now)

Without further ado, here is a look at the top 10 hitting prospects worth stashing in your redraft leagues.


1. Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA — ETA July


Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic was a reminder that, despite all the hoopla that top-tier prospects get, sometimes they don’t light the league on fire right away. Kelenic’s debut came with significant fanfare, but after 23 games he was rocking a .096/.185/.193 slash line with a 28.3% strikeout rate and poor contact rates, which led to him getting sent back to Triple-A to try to get back into the groove.

Kelenic has responded to the demotion well, picking up where he left off and hitting .276 with five home runs and four steals in 14 games played. It seems like only a matter of time before the five-tool outfielder is back patrolling the grass at T-Mobile Park. Of course, there is no guarantee he will come back and immediately hit well – he could still struggle – but the talent level is clearly still there, and there’s little reason to panic about the top prospect.

If Kelenic got dropped in your 12-team redraft league, he is absolutely worth picking up and stashing while we wait for his inevitable return. Even in 10 and 8 team leagues, he’s worth at least putting on the watchlist if he’s still around. Patience is key here, but the results will almost certainly be worth it by the end of the season.


2. Vidal Bruján, 2B/OF, TB — ETA July


Taylor Walls got his chance, and now Franco is getting his, paving the way for Vidal Bruján to be Tampa Bay’s next impact-hitting prospect to join the show. Bruján is an elite athlete and a double-plus runner who has exceptional barrel control and overall command of the strike zone, despite a swing that was described by Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs as “hellacious” after he told a story about Bruján swinging “so hard that he corkscrewed himself to the ground, only to pop back up like a Russian folk dancer”.

Bruján has drawn comparisons to Ketel Marte and Ozzie Albies due to his size and athleticism, and the hope for many in the industry is that, much like both Albies and Marte, he will grow into some power as he physically matures, without sacrificing his bat-to-ball skills and/or his speed.

Bruján has gotten off to a hot start at the plate in Triple-A Durham, slashing .256/.343/.481 with nine home runs, 14 stolen bases, and nearly as many walks (21) as strikeouts (26). He has done all of this as an outfielder primarily – giving him added versatility which will help when the team is looking for reinforcements on the farm. The fact that his power is showing up from both sides of the plate is an even stronger indication that it is real, which only makes him more exciting as a prospect on the brink of the big leagues.

The Rays were very close to giving him a call during the playoffs last year, and while the team has a full roster of infielders at the moment, it seems like a safe bet that Bruján, who is 23, has about a half season’s worth of at-bats at Double-A, is on the 40-man roster, and is learning to play the outfield, could get a look very soon depending on the Rays’ team needs.

If that happens, he’ll be a quality add in most formats thanks to his speed and plate discipline – and if that power shows up he has the potential to be a fantasy star, a la peak Marte.


3. Jarren Duran, OF, BOS — ETA July


Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran has continued his scorching hot hitting for Triple-A Worcester this season, and as of this writing he is slashing .295/.381/.626 with 13 home runs and eight steals in 33 games played.

Duran is a speedster with good bat-to-ball skills who underwent a swing change last year that began to unlock some power—the ultimate combination of circumstances, and one that often makes prospects hounds a little weak in the knees. And my goodness has that power stroke come to play this season. Duran has posted multiple 430+ home runs this year, blasting towering home runs that are nearly inconceivable coming from a player who was not considered a power-hitting prospect as recently as 2020.

Considering Duran slashed .303/.367/.408 with 46 steals across two minor league levels in 2019 (with just five total dingers), it is not hard to see why the potential of added power would make him pretty appealing.

Duran’s time with Team USA is over for now, and until we hear the official roster it is unclear how that will impact his potential MLB debut timeline.

Duran is still pretty raw, and I have concerns that plate discipline will remain an issue (he’s striking out at a 24% clip in Triple-A), but when the 24-year-old does get the call in 2021 he will be a popular waiver wire add in 12-teamers —and one that I wouldn’t mind stashing in most redraft formats ahead of time to take a gamble on.


4. Bobby Witt, Jr., SS, KC — ETA September


One of the stars of spring training was Kansas City shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., a first-round pick in 2019 who was already highly regarded in prospect circles before he set the baseball world ablaze with his light-tower power on full display in Surprise, Arizona in March.

Witt’s raw power is already well-known, along with his 60-grade speed, giving him true 30/30 potential at his absolute peak. He’s still just 20 years old, however, and while his timeline may have been accelerated by his power display this March, it’s still not even remotely a guarantee that he will be up at all in 2021.

We know that Kansas City is not afraid to aggressively promote prospects, as seen by the Daniel Lynch move earlier this season, and if they remain competitive for another few weeks Witt’s promotion may be far closer than we initially projected.

It helps that Witt has shaken off the slow start to the season. At Double-A, Witt is now slashing a smooth .275/.346/.539 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases, good for a 132 wRC+ – not bad for a 21-year-old.

Very few prospects have the potential that Witt does, and the few who do are either already in the big leagues or are less likely to be big leaguers in 2021 (Julio Rodríguez, Marco Luciano, CJ Abrams, Spencer Torkelson) which leaves Witt as an extremely high-risk, high-reward prospect stash in redraft leagues this season.

As talented as he is, I still would not recommend stashing him except in the deepest (16+) of formats, and even then it’s only really worth it if you have deep benches and are willing to gamble a roster spot on someone who probably won’t be up until the late summer. That final month of the season, if we get it, could be absolutely electric though.


 5. Joey Bart, C, SFG — ETA June


With Buster Posey’s decision to opt-out last year, the Giants called up uber catching prospect Joey Bartbut the youngster struggled in 33 MLB games, hitting just .233 with a 2.7% walk rate and a 36.9% strikeout rate, along with just seven extra-base hits and zero home runs.

Now that Posey is back, the Giants are content to roll with the future Hall of Famer and some combination of Curt Casali and Chadwick Tromp as the backup – giving Bart a chance to develop with the team’s Triple-A affiliate. So far so good, as Bart is hitting .339 with seven home runs in his first 28 games with Sacramento, although he is rocking a concerning but not surprising 32% strikeout rate.

It seems likely that Bart will be a guy who gets shuttled up and down between Sacramento and San Francisco this year – he already played one game with the Giants – which makes him a hard guy to stash until he manages to wrestle away a full-time role – which may or may not happen this year depending on Posey’s health and productivity.

Bart is probably never going to contribute in either the average or OBP categories, but the power is very real and could lead to 25-30 home runs annually when he reaches his peak. At a position that is a dearth of fantasy talent, the potential of Bart to come up and pile on home runs makes him an intriguing stash candidate in deeper redraft leagues – although his struggles last season certainly give some cause for concern.

I’d ultimately settle on putting Bart on the watchlist except in those deeper leagues, but if anything happens to Posey you’ll want to be on Bart as quick as you can.


6. Cal Raleigh, C, SEA — ETA July


Cal Raleigh has been a prospect crush of mine for a while now and he is finally starting to showcase a little more than just the pure raw power – posting a ridiculous .345/.396/.655 slash line with eight home runs and a 145 wRC+ at his first taste of Triple-A.

He’s also rocking a stellar 7.7% walk rate and an insane 11.8% strikeout rate, well, well below the 29.6% mark he posted in Double-A in 2019.

Seattle’s catching situation has been a nightmare this year, with Tom Murphy and Luis Torrens both struggling on both sides of the ball. Raleigh is more than ready to contribute at the next level, and now that Seattle’s younger pitchers, namely Logan Gilbertare up at the show, giving them a familiar face/glove to throw to couldn’t hurt.

Raleigh is among my favorite unheralded prospects in all of baseball, and while catchers are tough to predict – Raleigh has the ability to impact the ball in a way that would make him a top-10 catcher in all of fantasy baseball, and that is worth stashing in deeper redraft leagues.


7.  Jeter Downs, 2B/SS, BOS — ETA September


Credit to Boston’s front office for developing a strong farm system, as this is the second Red Sox prospect on this list, with Bobby Dalbec already entrenched in the big leagues and Triston Casas potentially not too far behind.

Named after Derek Jeter, Jeter Downs has a similar skill-set as a power-speed threat who plays up the middle, although he’s more likely to stick at second base than at shortstop, and will begin his big league career in Boston and not New York.

Before he gets to Boston to play second base, however, Downs is cutting his teeth with the new Triple-A Worcester Sox – and he is their starting shortstop. After a tough start to the season, Downs has steadily improved his performance over the last month or so. He is now hitting .244 with a .329 OBP, six home runs, 10 stolen bases, and a respectable 97 wRC+. His 10.1% walk rate is solid, but his 32.9% strikeout rate is still alarming – especially considering his previous strikeout totals were nowhere near as problematic.

The 23-year-old has been an advanced hitter throughout his minor league career, and his gap power could translate into some over-the-fence pop as he physically matures – and gets the benefit of calling Fenway Park home. He’s an average runner that has shown smarts on the base paths, and there’s absolutely potential for him to be a 20/20 guy at his peak, or at the very least a 15/15 regular who can contribute in BA/OBP formats as well.

Downs only had 12 games of experience above High-A before this season began, making his performance at Triple-A even more impressive this season. He still has some proving to do before he gets the big call, and while no one is unseating Bogaerts at shortstop, Downs’ competition at second base is some combination of Enrique Hernández, Marwin Gonzalez, Christian Arroyo, and Michael Chavis – so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him getting reps by the end of the summer.

He is more of a watchlist candidate than anything in most redraft leagues, but in deeper formats, I think he’s worth stashing for those who have the room.


8. Seth Beer, 1B, AZ – ETA July


It feels like Seth Beer’s best baseball season came way back when he was a freshman at Clemson, but in reality, he’s been an extremely productive power hitter throughout his minor league career. Joining the Diamondbacks in the Zack Greinke trade back in 2019, Beer is currently slashing .294/.399/.536 with six home runs and excellent walk (8.7%) and strikeout (16.4%) rates for Triple-A Reno.

The issue is Beer’s positional flexibility or lack thereof. Beer played 10 games in right field back in 2018 but has otherwise only played first base and some left field. He’s a better fit for an AL team with a DH, although rule changes in 2022 could give him a significant boost in regards to playing time.

For this year he’s behind Christian Walker, Pavin Smith, and bench bats like Josh Reddick and Nick Heath for playing time, but injuries or trades could easily open up a spot for him to play somewhat regularly down the stretch – and those in deeper redraft leagues should consider holding onto him until that happens, as his dramatic improvement in strikeout rate and strong slash line and power potential could make him a must-own fantasy player in the final few months of the season.


9. Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA — ETA August


Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh is the kind of prospect scouts drool about – a 6’4 speedster with a good hit tool and burgeoning power, which if he finds a way to fully harness could make him a legitimate All-Star caliber player.

However, the Angels have not shown much of a willingness to give Marsh or fellow outfielder Jo Adell much of a look so far this season, even with Mike Trout on the IL and injuries/ineffectiveness hampering guys like Justin Upton, Dexter Fowler, and Juan Lagares.

Note: Adell would be No. 4 on this list if he was still prospect eligible, and I would rather roster him as a stash than Marsh for the time being.

It’s tough right now to gauge Marsh’s MLB timeline, as he is still behind Adell in the pecking order – and Adell is clearly behind guys like Lagares and Taylor Ward, who was given the call when Trout went down.

The bad news is that Marsh’s season has not gone anywhere near as planned, as he was hitting just .183 before a shoulder injury sidelined him a few weeks ago. While the injury was not considered serious, Marsh has now been out of action for a while, and Los Angeles is getting closer to having a fully healthy outfield again.

The good news is Marsh already has 412 plate appearances at Double-A under his belt, and he played some of the best baseball of his career in the Arizona Fall League in 2019 thanks to a swing alteration. The primary change was with his hands, where he loaded the bat a little differently to get more loft in his swing in an effort to change his five-degree launch angle from the previous year.

If you feel like taking a risk and trying to get ahead of this, Marsh is not a bad name to stash at the end of your bench. But his recent injury and the presence of Adell make this playing time situation among the more tenuous ones on this list.


10. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL — ETA September


Rutschman is a tough player to rank on this list. A switch-hitter with premium power and a solid hit tool, Rutschman could easily be among the top 10 catchers in all of fantasy baseball by season’s end – but it will heavily depend on if (or when) he gets called up to the big league club. Most media outlets don’t expect Rutschman up at all this season, especially with Baltimore way out of the playoff picture, but even a few weeks at the end of the year could be huge for those in deeper fantasy leagues.

Rutschman began the season at Double-A and is displaying his rare combination of power and patience at the plate, boasting 11 home runs and a .248 ISO along with a ridiculous 18.6% walk rate and a slash line of .287/.427/.535.

The Orioles are still in tank mode, and they are rocking with Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco behind the dish. Rutschman is likely already an upgrade over one, or both of those guys, despite only having 12 games of experience above Low-A heading into this season.

Still, the reports from the team’s alternate training site were extremely positive for the young catcher, and his makeup, poise, advanced skillset, leadership, and potentially elite defense behind the dish make him a prime candidate to rise quickly up the ranks and onto the big league club at least in early 2022, and potentially this season provided Baltimore is willing to give up an additional year of service time for the former Oregon State star.

Getting a good, quality catcher often costs an arm and a leg on draft day, and if you are someone who doesn’t like the look of that spot on your current roster, Rutschman may not be a terrible gamble in formats with deeper benches, as he has the ability to instantly upgrade that position in a major way if he gets a look this season.


Added: Jarred Kelenic, Cal Raleigh, Seth Beer


Graduated: Wander Franco, Jesús Sánchez, Isaac Paredes


Others given consideration: Estevan Florial, JJ Bleday, Drew Waters, Brent Rooker, Brennen Davis, Heliot Ramos, Riley Greene, CJ Abrams, Nolan Jones


Photo from Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Andy Patton

Andy is the Dynasty Content Manager here at PitcherList. He manages all of the prospect content on the site, while also contributing a weekly article on dynasty deep sleepers, and the weekly hitter and pitcher stash lists. Andy also co-hosts the Never Sunny in Seattle podcast on the PitcherList Podcast Network, and separately hosts the Score Zags Score Podcast.

4 responses to “The Stash, Week 13: Top 10 Hitting Prospects To Stash in 2021”

  1. OldMilwaukeePounders says:

    Is there any reliable update on Marsh’s health status or return timeline? It’s been really hard to find anything on. I’m a true believer in the talent and see a very Charlie Blackmon type of outcome as a best case for the kid.

    • Andy Patton says:

      Blackmon is a solid top-end comparison. Haven’t seen much on the shoulder, it was said to be pretty minor but that was a while back so definitely a bit concerning at this point.

      • OldMilwaukeePounders says:

        Adell was just cut free by a contender in my 15 keeper. I’m in a roster crunch myself. You dropping Marsh and/or Hunter Renfroe to claim Adell? I’d have to do both due to IL stuff…

        • Andy Patton says:

          I probably would – Adell is still a tantalizing enough prospect to take a chance on even if he has not been up yet this year.

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