Top Baseball Prospects for 2013
Now updated for 2013's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
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A righthander most thought was taken a bit high in the first round of 2011's amateur draft, Miami's Jose Fernandez proved to be worth every penny, and he's now the highest-quality arm in a system that's desperate for pitching depth. The big Cuban defector chased big money all the way to Miami, braving sharks both literal and metaphorical, and has since hit 99mph on the radar gun and shown signs of a plus breaking pitch. He's getting closer to major league ready, but with Miami not exactly on the cusp of anything (other than a riot from unhappy fans), the team isn't likely to push him too fast.
Full Scouting Report for Jose Fernandez
SB 11 BA 5 SC 21 BP 6 SN ES 16 ML 7
There aren't a lot of Arubans around MLB, but the tiny island's reputation should be well-represented by Red Sox infield prospect Xander 'Crews' Bogaerts. A player of exceptional baseball intelligence, the man from San Nicolas has a graceful, quick swing with a little natural loft that should serve him well once his body fills out a bit more. His contact is solid and strong to all fields, and he's an above-average baserunner to boot.
Bogaerts earned a late-season promotion to AA in 2012, and he showed pretty clearly (.326/.351/.598) that he's ready for a new challenge. His weaknesses to date are iffy strike zone judgement (he's young) and some awkwardness in the field, especially with his footwork (he's young). There's really not anything to worry about here, though, other than the possibility he may bump Middlebrooks to first base one of these years. Either way, he'll be a middle-lineup guy, so it's safe to pre-order your Bogaerts jersey, but remember to triple-check the spelling.
Full Scouting Report for Xander Bogaerts
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It's always nice when you can trade away a fading veteran for a team's top prospect, and that's what the Mets did in acquiring Zack Wheeler from the Giants as part of their fire sale of 2011.
A flame-throwing righthander from Georgia, Wheeler mixes his 96mph fastball with a curve ball that's already a plus pitch. He's working now on adding a changeup, and if he can make it even a league-average offering, he can be a middle-rotation starter anywhere, anytime. Even without one, his fastball-curve combination is good enough for a major league bullpen today. He'll need some seasoning, of course, and most scouts would prefer to see that his pitcher-perfect body can hold up under a full season's workload before signing his ticket to Flushing. While he could pitch the Bigs right now, the Mets could benefit from showing a little patience: they won't be contenders in 2013 anyway, so it's probably better to bring an even-better Wheeler to the majors later, rather than sooner.
Full Scouting Report for Zack Wheeler
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Like a taller twin to Gerrit Cole, righty James Taillon is a geniune monster power arm from Texas (via Quebec), a very high-ceiling pitcher who has already cracked 100mph on many radar guns. If that's not enough to get your attention, note that while his slider and change are below average, his curveball has already been rated a plus pitch. If he can hold his arm together under increasing workloads and develop his command and control to pro levels, he could be a viable #2 or #3 starter by 2014 or so, with a shot at being a genuine ace somewhere down the road. If Pittsburgh can keep Taillon, Cole and Allie together and healthy, they could have a rotation that evokes 1990s-era Atlanta only a couple of years from now.
Full Scouting Report for Jameson Taillon
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With the first pick of the 2012 Draft, Houston showed a commitment to a strong future with the surprise selection of teenage phenom Carlos Correa, a natural shortstop who impressed scouts with a superior work ethic and five solid tools. His power potential is especially intriguing for a player who looks well-suited to remain at short, though he seems aware of this: his swing gets a little long and lofty at times when he reaches for the seats. Some good coaching along with the aforementioned work ethic should fix this, of course, and if he blossoms, he'll be a cornerstone of a future Astros lineup as it fights to contend in the tough AL West.
Full Scouting Report for Carlos Correa
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The player formerly known as Carlos Matias is a high-risk, high-upside pitcher from the Dominican who brings an advanced fastball and pitchability to the US mound. He's a bit of a mystery, and there's some question about how well his stuff will translate to the US game, but his minor league performance in 2011 quelled any fears that he would be a bust, and his 2012 numbers at AA Springfield (2.90/1.18/58:22 in 71 innings) propelled him to the front of the pitching prospects pack. He could see some bullpen time in St Louis this year, but a 2014 rotation spot is the real target, here.
Full Scouting Report for Carlos Martinez
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A high-school shortstop from Puerto Rico with a live bat and a great batting eye from both sides of the plate, Cleveland's Franky Lindor is a young and talented all-around player who shows signs of all five major league tools. His glove is pretty shiny, and his baserunning smarts and instincts are already several years ahead of his age bracket. As he works his way through several hundred thousand practice swings in the next three or four years, we'll find out if that bat can live up to early reports and carry his future into MLB.
Full Scouting Report for Francisco Lindor
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Travis D'Arnaud is one of the very top catching prospects in baseball today. Not to be confused with infielder Chase, Travis is an offensively gifted catcher who's ready for major league ball, at least from an offensive perspective: he slashed .333/.380/.595 last year at AAA Las Vegas, ticking off 16 homers in 67 games. A major prize in the sell-high trade of RA Dickey in December 2012, d'Arnaud also has above-average speed for a catcher to go along with a great eye for the strike zone. While his game-calling and defense aren't quite ready for prime time (yet), he'll be pushed along quickly. He should be hitting high in any Mets batting order in 2013, and for years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Travis d'Arnaud
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The fourth overall pick in the draft, righthander Trevor Bauer was overshadowed by rotation mate Gerrit Cole while at UCLA, but after turning pro he became one of the most impressive young arms anywhere in the minors, and he's as hot a ticket in our book as Cole is today.
Bauer is a smallish pitcher, with a bit of an unconventional motion, but his quirks are not the flaky flamethrower type, they're more of a dazzling bag-of-tricks variety. While he can reach 100mph if he wishes (we promise), he doesn't actually pitch there, preferring to stay down around 94mph with great and varying movement on his selection of sliders and cutters. He's also got a good head for the game and shows an Ichiro-level commitment to stretching and conditioning exercise. Acquired as the main return for Shin Soo Choo in a threeway trade via Cincinnati, it's possible Bauer will break camp with the Indians, but his real prime time won't be until midseason or even 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Trevor Bauer
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A 6-foot-4, solidly-built athlete, Marlin prospect Christian Yelich is a left-handed hitter with a picturesque swing that's a thing of beauty. Yelich is already showing good power, and as he grows into his body, that power should grow along with him.
Though originally seen as a first baseman, the Marlins preferred him as an outfielder, and he seems capable of playing any of the three positions there. He's ready enough, but the Marlins may try to hold him back for cost-savings, so it's a bit of a coin toss whether 2013 or 2014 will mark his permanent MLB assignment. A possible (huge) trade could also open up an opportunity earlier than expected.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Yelich
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10 to 20 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013