Baseball Prospectus unveiled their top 101 prospects for 2021 on Thursday, and pitcher Josiah Gray leads a group of four Dodgers to make the list.
Gray was ranked the 55th prospect in MLB by BP, with catcher Keibert Ruiz at No. 74, third baseman Miguel Vargas at No. 77, and second baseman Michael Busch at No. 91. Gray, Ruiz, and Busch were also in the top-100 list released by Baseball America last week.
The Dodgers acquired Gray from the Reds in December 2018, and he posted a 2.28 ERA and 28.5-percent strikeout rate across three minor league levels in 2019. The right-hander spent his 2020 at the alternate training site at USC during the regular season, then joined the Dodgers in their postseason player pool in October.
Gray was ranked 61st by Baseball Prospectus last year.
Vargas in 2019 he hit .308/.380/.440 across both Class-A levels, with 38 doubles and seven home runs. Signed out of Cuba in September 2017, Vargas is 21. Baseball Prospectus in December called Vargas a “naturally gifted hitter” with a high floor who could reach the majors in 2022.
“Advanced strike-zone awareness limits his strikeouts, prevents him from chasing bad pitches, and helped him establish a .387 career OBP,” Brandon Williams wrote. “While his power has yet to fully develop, his sturdy base and strong physique are sure to produce more home runs as he matures.”
Baseball Prospectus was high on Vargas last year too, ranking him 65th, one of six Dodgers in the 2020 top-101 list.
In an essay accompanying the BP top-100 list, Jeffrey Paternostro, Jarrett Seidler, and Keanan Lamb explained the various challenges of evaluating prospects in a year with no minor league season and amateur schedules also wiped out:
There were fewer opportunities for players to improve than in a normal year, and while we’ve concluded that there simply were fewer breakouts this year, it’s possible, even likely, that some of them happened in places we couldn’t see.
Our biggest problem in compiling lists wasn’t a lack of information, but rather information asymmetry. While we were able to get responses on nearly every player we asked about, the amount of information available varied significantly depending on what the player was doing during the lack of minor-league season.
This is the fourth straight year ranked in BP’s top 101 for Ruiz, who was ranked 54th in 2018, 31st in 2019, then No. 79 in 2020.
Ruiz also showed up on MLB Pipeline’s radar, ranked as the fifth-best catching prospect in baseball. MLB’s top-100 list will come out next week.
Looking at the Baseball Prospectus top 101, Ruiz was the fourth-highest catcher, behind Adley Rutschman, Joey Bart, and Luis Campusano.