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Keibert Ruiz, Miguel Vargas, Diego Cartaya stand out on midseason prospect lists

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Ruiz shot up 35 spots from Baseball Prospectus’ preseason list, and rose 12 slots at Baseball America.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs - Game One Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

There’s three full days of major league baseball this weekend, and on Sunday we get not only the MLB Futures Game but also the 2021 MLB Draft. It’s the most jam-packed few days on the baseball calendar, already an incredibly busy time.

So of course we also have some updated top prospect lists now, too.

Baseball America revamped their top-100 list, and Baseball Prospectus gave us a midseason top 50. Both agree on one thing: Keibert Ruiz is on the rise.

Ruiz is hitting .301/.384/.636 for Triple-A Oklahoma City, good for a 138 wRC+ with more walks (20) than strikeouts (18), while still 11 days shy of his 23rd birthday. The switch-hitter has especially shined as a left-handed batter, hitting .308/.400/.729 with 12 of his 13 home runs in the majors and minors combined.

Ruiz is ranked the 39th-best prospect in MLB by Baseball Prospectus, up from 74th during the preseason. Baseball America has Ruiz slated 41st, up from 53rd in the preseason.

“The Dodgers already have one of the best young catchers in the game in Will Smith,” BA wrote. “Now they have the well-rounded Ruiz coming right behind him.”

BP is high on Ruiz, but as a caution notes his offensive environment is Triple-A West, a league that averages 6.07 runs per game: “That upper minors success is coming in the PCL, and while the approach improvements might be real, he might “only” have average offensive tools.”

Josiah Gray has only pitched seven innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City, sidelined for two months with a right shoulder impingement that also delayed his likely major league debut earlier in the season. But he still rose on Baseball America’s list, from 68th during the preseason to No. 54 now. If he rose on Baseball Prospectus’ list, it wasn’t by more than five spots. He was 55th during the preseason, but didn’t make their midseason top 50.

BP was the highest on Miguel Vargas before the season, rating him 77th, the only national outlet to place the third baseman in the top 100.

After a first half that saw the 21-year-old hit .287/.345/.522, and saw him hold his own after a June 16 promotion to Double-A Tulsa, Baseball Prospectus now has Vargas ranked as the 38th-best prospect in baseball, one spot higher than Ruiz.

“Vargas has hit everywhere he’s been in the minors and the power really has come to the forefront in 2021, making him a potential 30-homer slugger to go with a plus hit tool,” said the Baseball Prospectus report, a piece co-authored by Jeffrey Paternostro, Jarrett Seidler, and Keanan Lamb.

Vargas had a 142 wRC+ with High-A Great Lakes. He’s at a still-above-average 109 wRC+ in Double-A while leading Tulsa in slugging percentage (.500) and OPS (.801), all while being over three years younger than the average for Double-A Central.

Also of note, infielder Michael Busch — who will play in the Futures Game on Sunday at Coors Field — was ranked 87th by Baseball America during the preseason but is now 69th.

Nineteen-year-old catcher Diego Cartaya, who wasn’t in BA’s top-100 list before the season is now 89th. Cartaya didn’t debut with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga until May 25, three weeks into the season, but is still tied for fourth on the team with eight home runs, hitting .300/.398/.590, the latter two numbers tops on the team. He has a 155 wRC+.

Says BA: “Already well regarded for his hitting ability and defense, Cartaya has shown more power in 2021, and he’s tapping into that power in games.”