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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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 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 nominal shortstop, Puerto Rican Cub Javier Baez also looks just fine at second and third, and has one of the highest overall upsides of any infield prospect in baseball. His ultimate position will probably come down to some mix of organizational need and how his body develops.
A solid all-around athlete, there's no reason to yet believe he won't stick at shortstop, thanks to a strong arm, soft hands and good feet. He hasn't yet shown the power for a corner, though, so his best route to the majors is definitely the middle of the diamond. He's not very widely known yet, but wait another year and Cubs fans will be clamoring for a Castro-Baez (or perhaps Baez-Castro) infield combination. They should have one or the other in 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Javier Baez
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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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The classic all-promise righthander, Arizona's Archie Bradley is a potentially outstanding pitcher who's only a changeup short of a major league career very soon. Of course, that's the pitching equivalent of a hitter who can handle everything except a curve ball, so this youngster's future will depend mighty heavily on how many MPH he can
subtract when called upon to do so. If he stumbles, his big fastball and plus curve should still serve his team well in relief, but we won't know for another year or two which road he'll be taking from South Bend to Mobile.
Full Scouting Report for Archie Bradley
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A tall and lanky teenager who arrived in the DR in the winter of 2011, outfielder Jorge Soler is one of the most promising Cuban prospects in baseball today. He's already shown off his tools in Dominica, and while he looks like a centerfielder right now, physically, his height and young age make it quite possible he'll be a corner fielder when he finishes growing. And if his loopy power swing develops as expected, he'll hit like one too.
He's already showing signs of MLB videogame level power at the plate, and his very strong arm is certainly real. His iffy contact skills and lack of patience at the plate, though, are equally clear indicators that he's still a rather rough gem. One bonus for his future home in The Show: the youngster already has an electric personality in his toolbox, which means he could be a real cover boy come 2015 or so.
Full Scouting Report for Jorge Soler
SB 17 BA 34 SC 67 BP 36 SN ES 42 ML 42
A high-profile 2010 pick for the Tigers, high-schooler Nick Castellanos was one of the best bats available in the draft. He shows very quick wrists and great natural hitting ability already, which means as he grows and fills out, he could become a certifiable monster. He has surprising speed for a big guy, too.
He played shortstop in high school, but Scouting Book readers know that we were pretty sure he would be a third baseman or corner outfielder as a pro from the moment the Tigers signed him. In a full season of A-ball in West Michigan, he was indeed primarily deployed at third base (we're so smrt), and he raked to the tune of .312/.367/.436. His AA debut in 2012 didn't go quite as swimmingly, but .264/.296/.382 is nothing to be ashamed of when you're only 20 years old and facing top flight pitching for the first time. Detroit, ever on the lookout for more ways to squeeze sluggers into the lineup, has also started testing young Nicky in right field, and on their OF-light MLB squad, that might be a better place for his debut, at least until Prince Fielder graduates to full-time DH status, leaving at least one of the corner infield spots vacant again.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Castellanos
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The big slugger named Jonathan Singleton had no real future in Philadelphia, but in the AL-destined Astros he looks like a heck of a 1B/DH piece for the near future. Even as a corner outfield prospect, he's competent, and his powerful left-handed bat does nothing but hit. Singleton raked a nice .284 with 21 homers at AA Corpus Christi last season, which would have placed him squarely into contention for an Opening Day job in Houston if he hadn't derailed his career with a 50-game PED-free drug suspension. He'll be back around midseason and should push his way onto the MLB squad before the year is over, regardless.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Singleton
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The number two overall pick in 2011, Seattle pitching prospect Danny Hultzen is a solid lefthander who draws more than his share of Cliff Lee comparisons. With a fastball that drops in around 94mph and a no-nonsense workmanlike approach to the game, the comparison isn't far off base, either. In three seasons of duty at the University of Virginia, Hultzen went 32-5 with a 2.08 ERA. The Cavs ace also struck out a nasty 148 batters in 103 innings in his final season.
In addition to the well-advertised pinpoint fastball, he showed advanced ability to find and locate a nifty cutter, a decent change, and an occasionally-wicked slider, though he may back-shelf that one for awhile. He looked ready for MLB last season, but with not much to play for, the Mariners erred on the discretionary side, which should keep their soon-to-be-stellar rotation affordable a little bit longer. Look for him this season.
Full Scouting Report for Danny Hultzen
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11 to 20 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013