Preseason Prospect Assignments: National League

A look at where each team's top prospects could be starting the year.

As Opening Day approaches, below is an update on the likely level assignments for the top five prospects for each National League team. Several assignments are already known while others are still be determined. Our preseason prospect lists were used as a guideline and each team name will bring you to the corresponding Top 50 list.

Note: All stats are as of 3/28/21. The stats, along with any changes to assignments, will be updated following the conclusion of spring training.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

 

  1. Kristian Robinson, OF –  Robinson was one of several Arizona prospects who didn’t catch an invite to spring training this year. Heading into 2020, the hype train for Robinson reached all-time highs. The extended time off has allowed for his profile, especially his hit tool, to be questioned further and the community has somewhat cooled on the athletic outfielder. Given that there are potential strikeout concerns here he is still likely to open up the year at a lower level. Likely Assignment: High-A
  2. Corbin Carroll, OF – Like Robinson, Carroll was not a spring training invitee for the Diamondbacks. Unlike Robinson though, Carroll’s reputation has grown over the last year and many real-life and fantasy lists now have him as the top-ranked prospects in the organization. His highest level to date is Low-A, so the 20-year-old feels likely to join Robinson in Hillsboro. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Alek Thomas, OF – Same story here — Thomas was not a spring training invitee.  The left-handed hitting outfielder will be 21 in April and has played 23 games at High-A in 2019. Given that was 18 months ago, a step up should be in store for Thomas. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  4. Geraldo Perdomo, P –  Hey! Someone that was at spring training. Perdomo didn’t see a ton of game action, triple slashing .222/.417/.333 in nine at bats, but it’s better than nothing. The shortstop’s plate discipline was on display, drawing three walks. Perdomo’s could be up sometime in 2021. He was sent to Reno on March 16. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  5. Blake Walston, P – It’s less surprising that Walston, still just 19 and with just 11 innings of professional baseball under his belt, didn’t make a spring appearance. Walston has considerable upside but velocity concerns. Right now, it feels like Hillsboro is the place to be to watch Arizona’s young talent. Likely Assignment: High-A.

 

Atlanta Braves

 

  1. Ian Anderson, P  – At this point, only an unexpected injury would keep Anderson out of the Braves Opening Day rotation. He’s been hit a little more than you’d like this spring, sporting a 5.17 ERA in 15.2 innings, but the 19 strikeouts showcase the potential. After logging more than 30 innings for the big league club last year, the right-hander is ready for a full season. Likely Assignment: MLB
  2. Drew Waters, OF – Waters was a non-roster invitee for the Braves this spring training, logging four ABs, collecting two hits. The outfielder had a monster 2019 between Double-A and Triple-A, but there are some questions about his approach and with Atlanta having a fairly deep outfield, he will likely spend time honing his skills in the minors. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  3. Cristian Pache, OF – Pache is on the 40-man roster but struggled this spring, going  6 for 37. The centerfielder has long been regarded as one of the best centerfield prospects in the game, but the offense has some catching up to do. If he continues to struggle, he may bounce between the majors in the minors throughout 2021. For now, he looks to be given the opportunity to start. Likely Assignment: MLB
  4. Braden Shewmake, SS – Shewmake is another non-roster invitee for the Braves. He struggled to get things going at this plate this spring, notching two singles in 18 ABs. The now 23-year-old spent some time at Double-A back in 2019 and will likely be a level higher to start the year. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  5. Tucker Davidson, P – Davidson tossed two innings for the Braves this spring, but was optioned to Gwinnett on March 12. There is a strong chance Davidson logs some innings for Atlanta later in the year. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.

 

Chicago Cubs

 

  1. Brailyn Marquez, P   Marquez “skipped” the upper levels of the minors in 2020. After never pitching at Double-A or Triple-A, the lefty made a very brief 0.2 inning appearance for the Cubs. Due to COVID-19 intake processes, Marquez got a late start at camp and didn’t make a Spring Training appearance. He was optioned to Tennessee on March 19. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  2. Brennen Davis, OF –  Davis earned a non-roster invite for the Cubs this spring. He went 3 for 20 in his spring ABs, but the athletic 21-year-old has plenty of upside. At this point, he is still a few years away and needs some seasoning. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Adbert Alzolay, P – The right-hander had a nice 2020 for the Cubs, recording a 2.95 ERA in 21.1 innings despite a walk rate near 15%. He posted a 10.57 ERA in 7.2 innings this spring, but Alzolay has made the Opening Day roster as a starter. Likely Assignment: MLB.
  4. Miguel Amaya, C – Amaya is on the 40-man roster and the young catcher collected four hits in 16 spring ABs. Amaya has shown an ability to draw walks at every level he’s played in so far. He’s still a year or two away from big-league action. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  5. Ed Howard, SS – Howard was taken 16th overall in the June 2020 draft and did not receive an invite to the major league camp. The shortstop is known for his smooth defense and quick bat speed. Howard turned 19 in January, so he is a few years away from the show. Likely Assignment: Low-A.

 

Cincinnati Reds

 

  1. Jose Garcia, SS – It’s well known at this point that Garcia struggled against big league pitching in 2020. He skipped several levels when the Reds brought him up last summer to help their playoff push and Garcia looked overmatched. It’s not encouraging that he went hitless in 14 ABs this spring, but the shortstop is still only 22 years old and has plenty of time to work on his weaknesses. Garcia was optioned to Louisville on March 21. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  2. Nick Lodolo, P – Lodolo has appeared in three spring games as a non-roster invitee, striking out four in three innings while allowing two runs. The lefty has yet to pitch above Low-A and he probably won’t be making his debut until 2022. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the upper minors at some point this year, though. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Tyler Stephenson, C – The 24-year-old backstop appeared in eight games for the Reds in 2020 and hit two home runs. He had 11 hits in 39 ABs this spring and he appears to be a lock to make the Opening Day roster as a backup to Tucker BarnhartLikely Assignment: MLB.
  4. Hunter Greene, P – The results don’t matter as much for Greene. The Reds are just happy to see him out on the rubber this spring clocking fastballs routinely in the triple digits. After missing significant time due to Tommy John surgery, Greene will spend time in the minors for seasoning. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  5. Austin Hendrick – The Reds used their first round pick on Hendrick in the 2020 draft. He’s a power hitting outfielder that at 19 will need plenty of repetitions in the minors before seeing big league action. He’s a few years away. Likely Assignment: Single-A.

 

Colorado Rockies

 

  1. Michael Toglia, 1B – Toglia didn’t catch an invite to spring training from the Rockies, which is a little surprising given that he’s 22 and had no trouble at Low-A in 2019. In 41 games that year, the switch-hitter posted a 142 wRC+. Likely Assignment: High-A
  2. Zac Veen, OF – The Rockies took Veen with the ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft. The lefty-hitting outfielder just turned 19 in December, so he didn’t receive an invite to spring training. With no minor leagues in 2020, Veen has his entire minor league career still ahead of him. He offers plenty of upside as a power-speed dual threat. Likely Assignment: Low-A
  3. Aaron Schunk, INF – A theme is starting to form here as Schunk also didn’t catch an invite to spring training. Schunk is a former two-way prospect whose defensive home is still to be determined. The now 23-year-old posted a 145 wRC+ at Low-A in 2019. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  4. Brenton Doyle, OF – Doyle is another high-upside bat we didn’t see this spring but had a monster 2019, logging a 185 wRC+ in the Pioneer League. Given the time off, it’s difficult to predict where he’s going to kick off the 2021 season and we should know more about what’s in store for the 22-year-old as the minor league season approaches. Likely Assignment: High-A
  5. Ryan Vilade, 3B/OF – Vilade is the lone prospect from this list to see some spring training action, going 10 for 32 with a double and a home run. His defensive home remains a mystery but corner outfield is becoming more and more likely. Colorado has been infamous in their handling of their prospects so it feels unlikely that we see Vilade in majors in 2021. Likely Assignment: Double-A.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

 

  1. Josiah Gray, P – Gray has climbed up prospect rankings rapidly since being acquired by the Dodgers. He’s been lights-out at each of his stops in the minors but struggled this spring (seven runs in 5.1 innings). A dominant showing in Triple-A could push him to the big league club come summer, even if it’s in a temporary relief role given the Dodgers’ pitching depth. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  2. Michael Busch, INF –  Busch found his way to camp as a non-roster invitee and collected two hits — including a homer — in 13 ABs. He has an uncertain defensive home and has only played 10 games of professional ball, but the feeling is that Busch’s offensive profile is so good that he should move quickly. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Andy Pages, OF – Pages got his first taste of spring training this year, appearing in four games going 1 for 2 in the process. At 20, the power-hitting outfielder is still a ways away from the show. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  4. Diego Cartaya, C – Cartaya had success in his age-17 season in rookie ball and solidified himself as one of the Dodger’s top prospects. Now 19, he didn’t catch an invite to spring training and was assigned to Rancho back in February. Likely Assignment: Low-A
  5. Keibert Ruiz, C – Ruiz made the most of his brief spring training action, going 4 for 5 with five RBI. Ruiz made a two-game appearance for the Dodgers last summer as a 21-year-old, but, given the Dodgers’ depth at the position, the backstop won’t crack the Opening Day roster without an injury. His advanced hit tool has allowed him to climb through the minors at an uncommonly young age for a catcher. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.

 

Miami Marlins

 

  1. Sixto Sanchez, P  – Sanchez is building up his strength and has touched 101 mph on his fastball. The minor leagues should be firmly behind him, but Miami optioned the promising arm to the alternate training site to be stretched out. The Marlins will open up the year without him, but he should be up soon. Likely Assignment: MLB.
  2. Max Meyer, P –  The Marlins selected Meyer with the third overall pick in the 2020 draft so he has yet to log any professional innings. Meyer was part of the big league camp this spring, but the organization didn’t want to rush him into game action. He should move quickly through the lower levels. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  3. JJ Bleday, OF – Bleday was a non-roster invitee this spring and went 6 for 26 with two doubles and two home runs. The lefty outfielder posted a 107 wRC+ at High-A in 2019 and is likely to start the year a level above. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  4. Edward Cabrera, P – Cabrera has been battling a biceps injury this spring and is yet to resume a throwing program. We last saw him dominating two different levels in 2019. As long the injury doesn’t derail or delay his season, he could be pitching for the Marlins sometime in 2021. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  5. Jazz Chisholm, INF – Recent reports have Chisholm as the winner of the second base job in Miami. The infielder struggled in 2020, finishing with a 56 wRC+ in 21 games. He hit well this spring, going 11-for-41 with three home runs and four steals. Likely Assignment: MLB.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

 

  1. Garrett Mitchell, OF – The Brewers used their first-round pick in the 2020 draft of the talented outfielder. Mitchell’s skills were on full display in spring training, triple slashing .379/.419/.596 in 29 ABs. At 22, Mitchell should move through the system fairly quickly but still has yet to play a professional game. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  2. Brice Turang, SS –  Turang was a non-roster invitee to spring training and was unable to get anything going, collecting just six hits in 31 ABs. Turang spent 40 games at High-A in 2019 and although he didn’t light the world on fire offensively, I expect him to start a level higher after the long lay off. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  3. Ethan Small, P –  The lefty tossed 2.2 innings as a non-roster invitee, allowing two runs and striking out three. Small should move quickly given his plus command. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  4. Antoine Kelly, P – Kelly had pectoralis minor release surgery and a first rib resection surgery back in November and is still building back his strength. At this point, it’s unclear when he will be in game action. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  5. Hedbert Perez, OF – Perez has been getting some hype this offseason and the 17-year-old even made three ABs in Spring Training, though he went hitless in all of them. He is forever away at this point but the excitement is building. Likely Assignment: Rookie.

 

New York Mets

 

  1. Ronny Mauricio, SS – Mauricio earned a non-roster invitee spot this spring for the Mets and he went 5 for 14 in his limited appearances. It’s encouraging sign for a player that the fantasy prospect community has cooled on following subpar production in recent years. This will be is age-20 season so he still has a few developmental years ahead of him. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  2. Francisco Alvarez, C – Alvarez was a non-roster invitee for New York and went 0-for-5 in game action. The small sample results don’t matter much – Alvarez has blossomed into one of baseball’s top catching prospects. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  3. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF – The Mets selected Crow-Armstrong with the 19th overall pick in the 2020 draft. The lefty outfielder went 1-for-14 in spring action. Crow-Armstrong just turned 19 in March and has his entire minor-league career ahead of him. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  4. Matthew Allan, P –  Allan tossed one inning this spring, allowing one earned run while striking out one. The righty barely has 10 innings of professional ball to his name. He could move quickly once he starts eating up innings in the lower levels. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  5. David Peterson, P  – It appears the Peterson is going to earn the fifth starter’s spot for the Mets. The lefty posted a 3.44 ERA in 49.2 innings last season and has had a strong spring, allowing five runs in 12 innings. Likely Assignment: MLB.

 

Philadelphia Phillies

 

  1. Spencer Howard, P – Howard has been battling some back issues this spring, though he has tossed three innings. He posted a 5.92 ERA in 24.1 innings last summer so that paired with the injury prevented him from grabbing an Opening Day rotation role. The Phillies optioned him to Triple-A to start the year. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  2. Bryson Stott, SS – Stott didn’t do much with his opportunities this spring, logging two singles in 27 ABs. He had his way at Low-A in 2019, recording a 145 wRC+ in 21 games, but he still has a long path to the majors. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Mick Abel, P –  The Phillies selected Abel with the 15th overall pick in 2020. He didn’t catch an invite to Spring Training and given that he’s just 19, he will start his minor league career in the lower levels. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  4. Kendall Simmons, SS – Simmons didn’t receive a Spring Training invite so we haven’t gotten in-game looks at him (not counting the Australian Baseball League) since 2019 when he registered a 148 wRC+ at Low-A. He has some strikout issues at this point that will need to be worked out. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  5. Luis Garcia, SS – Garcia notched four hits in 21 ABs this spring. The shortstop struggled mightily at A-ball in 2019, triple slashing .186/.261/.255, and clearly still has plenty of work to do in the minors. Likely Assignment: Low-A.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

 

  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B – This is as much of a lock as there can be on this list. Hayes has absolutely demolished the ball this spring and will be the everyday third baseman for the Pirates this season. Nothing to see here except excitement. Likely Assignment: MLB.
  2. Nick Gonzales, 2B – The Pirates selected Gonzales with the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft. The second baseman caught a non-roster invite to Spring Training and went 3-for-13. The Pirates have assigned him to Greensboro. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Travis Swaggerty, OF –  Swaggerty saw some spring training action this year, going 2 for 16 with nine strikeouts. In 21 games at High-A in 2019, Swaggerty swiped an eye-popping 23 bags and tallied nine home runs. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  4. Liover Peguero, SS – Visa complications prevented Peguero from being able to participate in Spring Training games this March. The young shortstop hasn’t shown much power in games to this point, but his surprisingly high EV numbers hint that it may not be too far away. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  5. Quinn Priester, P – Priester has been one of the biggest risers in the prospect community over the past year. He allowed one run in 1.1 innings of Spring Training action and is a few years away from seeing the big leagues. Likely Assignment: Low-A.

 

San Diego Padres

 

  1. Mackenzie Gore, P – Gore allowed six earned runs in 11 innings while striking out 10 this spring. The 22-year-old seems ready for the majors, but San Diego made several moves this offseason to add to their starting rotation. Whether or not Gore cracks the Opening Day roster may come down to the health of Dinelson Lamet, but it seems like he’s on track to open up at the alternate site. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  2. CJ Abrams, SS – The Padres have not been hesitant to get Abrams looks this spring. The 20-year-old shortstop has totaled 48 ABs, triple slashing .250/.294/.438 with two home runs and three steals. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Ha-Seong Kim, INF/OF – Kim has really struggled this spring, going just 7 for 42. Despite the struggles, he’s still expected to make the big league team and play multiple positions. The Padres are deep seemingly everywhere, so it likely will not be an everyday role unless his performance begins to dictate otherwise. Likely Assignment: MLB.
  4. Luis Campusano, C – The young backstop popped a home run last summer in his only career MLB game and has since followed that up with a solid spring performance, going 12 for 41. Right now, it doesn’t look like starting catcher Austin Nola will be ready to go by Opening Day, so Campusano should be on the big league roster. Once Nola is back, though, Campusano might be bounced to the minors to get more reps. Likely Assignment: MLB.
  5. Ryan Weathers, P – Weathers has been hit around a bit this spring, allowing 10 earned runs in 12.2 innings. On the flip side, he has struck out 15. The 21-year-old lefty spent the entirety of the 2019 season at A-ball where he finished with a 3.84 ERA in 96 innings. But let’s not forget — he made his big league debut against the Dodgers in the postseason, pitching 1.1 scoreless innings. The Padres clearly have confidence in the young arm and have stated that Weathers has made the team. Likely Assignment: MLB.

 

San Francisco Giants

 

  1. Marco Luciano, SS – Luciano is one of the top prospects in baseball at just 19 years old, so there is no reason to worry about his slow spring (4 for 27). We probably won’t see him in the majors this year, but don’t be surprised when he climbs a couple of levels this season. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  2. Joey Bart, C – Bart struggled in his MLB debut last season but had a strong spring, going 11 for 24 with two home runs and two steals. The catcher’s plate discipline in the majors was enough of a concern that the Giants want to see him get some reps in in the minors. He was optioned to Triple-A in mid-March. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  3. Heliot Ramos, OF – Ramos has been on fire in Spring Training, hitting .417 with three home runs in 31 ABs. He has some strikeout concerns but Ramos has hit well at every level. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  4. Alexander Canario, OF  – Canario did not register any 2021 spring training games. The 20-year-old has show significant offense promise in the minors, but still has several levels to climb. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  5. Luis Matos, OF – Matos has been getting some helium over the last year. Matos didn’t receive an invite to spring training, but his triple slash of .367/.489/.566 at two Rookie level stops in 2019 has many thinking a breakout season is looming. Likely Assignment: Low-A.

 

St. Louis Cardinals

 

  1. Dylan Carslon, OF – Following an uneven MLB debut in 2020, Carlson has enjoyed a solid spring, hitting .250 with two home runs in 44 ABs. He is expected to serve as the the Cardinals’ everyday right fielder and should bounce around the batting order. Likely Assignment: MLB.
  2. Matthew Liberatore, P – The lefty tossed 8.1 innings across five appearances this spring, allowing just three earned runs while striking out nine. Despite the strong showing, Liberatore still needs some seasoning in the minors. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  3. Ivan Herrera, C – The 20-year-old backstop went hitless in four spring training ABs. Herrera is officially on the 40-man roster, but he was optioned to minor league camp on March 20. If the Cardinals need catching depth, he could make his MLB debut at this point this year, but he will start the season in the minors. Likely Assignment: Double-A.
  4. Johan Oviedo, P – Oviedo had a tough MLB debut in 2020, finishing with a 5.47 ERA in 24.2 innings. He allowed one run in two innings this spring. He’s in consideration to make the Opening Day roster but it feels like he may be on the outside looking in. Likely Assignment: Triple-A.
  5. Nolan Gorman, 3B – Gorman caught an invite to Spring Training and struggled, posting a .174 batting average to go with seven strikeouts in 23 ABs. Still, the 20-year-old has big power and has had success at each of his stops in the minors so far. Likely Assignment: High-A.

 

Washington Nationals

 

  1. Jackson Rutledge, P –  The righty only appeared in one inning this spring but made the most of it, tossing a scoreless inning and striking out two. He is yet to pitch above A-ball, though, so Rutledge still has plenty of minor league innings to log before we see him in the bigs. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  2. Cade Cavalli, P – Washington selected Cavalli with the 20th overall pick in 2020. As a result, he hasn’t made his professional debut yet, though he did pitch a scoreless inning this spring. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  3. Cole Henry, P – Henry was taken in the second round of the draft so, like Cavalli before him, we have not seen him in a professional capacity. His one spring appearance didn’t go as smoothly, allowing four runs in one innings. Likely Assignment: Low-A.
  4. Drew Mendoza, 1B/3B – Mendoza made a brief appears this spring, going 2 for 8 with a double and three strikeouts. In Mendoza’s only campaign he finished with a 128 wRC+ at Single-A. Likely Assignment: High-A.
  5. Mason Denaburg, P – Injuries have plagued Denaburg thus far into his career. He tossed 20.1 innings at the Rookie level in 2019 and posted a 7.52 ERA. The upside is still there for the 21-year-old but a lot comes down to how well his shoulder holds up. Likely Assignment: Low-A.

 

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

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