Top Baseball Prospects for 2014
Now updated for 2014'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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Seen by many as the best pitching prospect in the 2013 draft class, Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray is a towering righthander with high-90's heat that breaks 100mph from time to time. More often, he throws it at 94 or 95 with good late movement that busts righthanded hitters. His real showcase pitch, though, is the hard slurvy slider that comes in near 90mph but drops dramatically off and away, making even good hitters look like weak-kneed noodle-slappers. If Gray has a weakness, it's his not-there-at-all changeup, a pitch he may need if he's going to handle lefthanded hitters with as much skill as he deals with righties. Regardless, he's a top flight prospect who has the stuff and maturity to handle pitching, even at Coors Field.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Gray
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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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A mature Cuban first baseman, slugger Jose Dariel Abreu (Correa) was the Cuban League's MVP in 2010-2011, a season in which he hit 33 home runs in 66 gams, a Cuban League record. His .453/.597/.986 line is also the best in recorded history. After defecting from Cuba in late 2013, he signed a six-year major league contract with the White Sox. He's expected to earn playing time this season, and while he may strike out a lot, his game-changing power will play in any league.
Full Scouting Report for Jose Abreu
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A Florida prep infielder with a plus power bat and better than average speed, shortstop Addison Russell will probably grow out of the position very soon, but he'll look quite good as a third baseman in Oakland, too, especially if the ball club succeeds in securing an actual, like, baseball park in which to play. He's probably the best hitting prospect in the Oakland system, and could get a chance in the Bigs earlier than expected, especially if the precocious A's keep on winning sooner than the schedule suggested.
Full Scouting Report for Addison Russell
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Seen by many as the best pure hitter in the 2013 draft class, San Diego's Kris Bryant is a polished college prospect who looks like a quality middle of the order bat. In Chicago, he'll get a long look at third base, due to positional needs, but he may still end up at first base, despite his good arm. That might dim his prospect star a little, and it gives bears some easy ammunition, but long-term it really shouldn't matter: his bat is good enough for any position, and he looks to be a solid piece in the Cubs' rebuilding effort.
Full Scouting Report for Kris Bryant
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The younger of Baltimore's Bouncing Baby Bundies, the growly-looking Dylan is a righthander with ace upside, but he remains relatively untested against pro hitters, and under professional pressure. His ungodly 0.25 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 71 innings as a high school senior earned him honors as the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, BA's High School Player of the Year Award and USA Today's National Player of the Year. That said, he's still what we in the business like to call
a high school pitching prospect, which is a term of art meant to indicate that this category of gamble is among the riskier bets in baseball. His fastball/cutter combination is a genuine plus combo, and he's been improving his command and control while working on improving his changeup in the minors. He'll need that to succeed. The Baltimore organization has done nothing in the last few years to suggest they're not one of the very best incubators for pitching talent, so overall, we're believers.
Full Scouting Report for Dylan Bundy
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Yes, he sounds like a character from snowy Skyrim, but Texan Noah Syndergaard is more of a dusty cowpoke than uppity Jarl. The Blue Jays thought highly enough of him to say 'no' to the Oakland A's when the Athletics were shopping Gio Gonzalez around in 2011, but they caved in 2012 when the Mets dangled Cy Young winner RA Dickey, making Noah one of the very top Mets pitching prospects today.
The move to New York means he's no longer a sleeper candidate, and now that he's an NL talent, he's even more appealing. When this imposing righthander arrives, it'll be thanks to the plus command he shows with his decent 94mph fastball and near-plus curve. Of course, as with any young pitcher, it'll be the quality of his developing change that will determine whether he's an ace or a middle-of-the-pack starter a year or two from now. He's very close to ready.
Full Scouting Report for Noah Syndergaard
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A defensive star in the making, outfielder George Springer brings great range, a good glove and a powerful arm to the park. He'd be patrolling spacious centerfield in Minute Maid Park already, if only his bat could catch up to the rest of his all-around game. After scuffling in 2012, Springer started lighting up scoreboards last season, stroking 37 homers and a very impressive .303/.411/.600 line a season evenly split between AA and AAA.
While the Astros may try to hold him back for cost-management reasons, Springer is 24 this spring, which means his time is almost certainly right now.
Full Scouting Report for George Springer
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Another promising third base prospect in Philadelphia, Dominican Maikel Franco has accelerated his course to the big leagues thanks to a blistering 2013 season with AA .339/.363/.563 line at AA Reading followed up on a spring .299/.349/.576 at A-level Clearwater. The young slugger crushed a combined 31 homers in 541 at-bats. If he stays this hot, he'll be in Philly this year, though his prime is another couple of years away. With the Phillies looking a few years away from contention, the organization may take the conservative road with Franco in order to hold down his substantial future costs.
Full Scouting Report for Maikel Franco
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The Dodgers liked righthander Kevin Gausman a lot back in 2010, but he turned down an above-slot offer to go to LSU instead. Picked up again in 2012 by the Orioles, he's looking just as promising now as he was then: a solid pitcher with a big fastball and promising (though inconsistent) breaking stuff who could develop quickly. He's a bit of a high-risk / high-reward player for the Orioles, but when you're trying to compete in the AL East, you have to take a few chances. So far, he's looking like a very good gamble indeed: he's one of the fastest risers on every pitching chart in the business.
Full Scouting Report for Kevin Gausman
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10 to 20 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013