Baseball prospect watchers and general baseball fans don't like to just read a list and leave it at that. They always want the sleeper who just missed the list, or the guy most likely to shoot up the list by the end of the year. It could be to grab a player for their fantasy teams, buy a rookie card, or just be the most knowledgeable fan, but it's become clear to me a simple ordinal list has its limits.
The classes of the 2020 draft and the 2019 and 2020 international signing periods haven't played an official pro game yet, and the 2019 draft class had only a summer to whet our appetite. That means there's an unprecedented number of prospects in the same limited-information or small-sample-size buckets.
So, to celebrate the much overdue opening of the 2021 minor league season, I'll list a bunch of prospects, presented in groups, who I'm most interested in closely tracking to begin the season.
This list is focused mostly on players from the above classes but will have a draft leaning because I'm not including players who are in extended spring training (i.e., not opening the season in Triple-A, Double-A, high-A or low-A, which are all starting this week) and won't play an official pro game until the summer, in a short-season league. This is why an international signee like New York Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez isn't listed, as are many others, though they could always impress in extended spring training and make a full-season club as soon as a few weeks from now.