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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The Pirates swear he's only eighteen years old, but young Luis Heredia sure looks a lot older than that, both physically and when you take a look at what he can do with a baseball. The big (6-6, 210) kid from Sinaloa throws hard: he touched 96mph in rookie ball as a sixteen-year old (!?), and he looks like as he grows into his body, he'll be able to increase number in the future, too.
Even as-is, though, that fastball will be enough if he can complement it with any decent secondary pitches. Good news for his mother and the fan club: Heredia's already packing a changeup that looks better than anything most 20-year olds can throw, and his work-in-progress curve is showing great movement, even if he can't really control it yet. He's only due to sample A-ball in 2013, which means he's still go a long way to go before he's wowing them in MLB, and we'll probably be hearing about all those other great Pirate pitching prospects first, but if his body holds together, the H-Bomb could be something special a few years down the road. Felix Hernandez comparisons are not completely outrageous here.
Full Scouting Report for Luis Heredia
SB 121 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A flamethrowing lefthander, Montgomery was grabbed early by the Royals in the 2008 draft. Four minor league seasons later, he's still looking pretty legitimate, if unspectacular. He's assembled a 4.17 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and a 460:212 collection of strikeouts versus walks over 546 innings that have propelled him to AAA and the major league doorstep. Traded to the Rays during the 2012 winter, he'll be looked to sooner than he might have been in KC. He's only 23 years old, and suffered some flameout control issues at times last season, but we still expect to see him in the majors this season. A new coaching staff might be all that it takes to restore his onetime shine.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Montgomery
SB 122 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, lean lefty who's been pitching under the radar for the past two seasons, Cuban Roenis Elias has stuff and guile enough to succeed in MLB, though the jury is very much still out on whether his best use would be from the bullpen or rotation. Elias, who defected from Cuba without much fanfare three years ago, was a Southern League All-Star last season posting a 3.18 ERA while striking out a tidy 121 batters in 130 innings. He's likely to open the season back in AA Jackson, but with the Mariner rotation looking iffy to open the season, he could be called upon for a spot start or two, plenty of opportunity to raise his stock even further.
Full Scouting Report for Roenis Elias
SB 123 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Drafted as a teenager from Puerto Rico to open 2012's compensation round, Jose Orlando (J-O) Berrios is a smallish righthander with good arm strength from a compact but strong frame. His short delivery bodes well for mechanical soundness, with a fastball that can pop at 96mph and a breaking ball that looks like a real plus offering. He'll slow-cook in Minnesota after signing, but if he stays healthy, it won't be long before he's seen as a top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value.
Full Scouting Report for Jose Berrios
SB 124 BA SC BP 75 SN ES ML 90
A thickly-built, wide-framed power bat from Texas who moves pretty well for his size, Mike Choice is a player destined for an outfield corner rather than the centerfield he played at UT. He draws comparisons to Pedro Alvarez for his body type and the attack angle of his quick right-handed swing. As an advanced bat with an excellent work ethic and (by all reports) a solid character, he's pretty much ready for MLB now, though the rawness of his tools will show for another year or three. Brought home to Texas in the 2013 trade of speedy Craig Gentry and right-hander Josh Lindblom, Choice should, if nothing else, feel a little more comfortable.
Full Scouting Report for Michael Choice
SB 125 BA 98 SC BP 79 SN ES ML 72
A sixth round selection by the O's in 2011, catcher and third baseman Nick Delmonico probably had the best pure power bat in the Baltimore system at draft time, and he's shown flashes of that power already in pro ball. The best indicator for possible future success comes not from seeing his legit power, however, but in noticing that his success in high school came mainly on the strength of patience and selectivity at the plate: if that kind of discipline can be nurtured in pro ball, he could be a very powerful offensive force indeed. Now a Brewer thanks to the shrewd dumping of Francisco Rodriguez in mid-2013, he'll continue to develop in another system known for sharpening young hitters.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Delmonico
SB 126 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Casey Kelly is big, strong pitcher who came to San Diego from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Young Kelly is already 6-3 and 200lbs, with more size and strength to come as he fills out.
He took an uncomfortable step backwards with the Red Sox back in 2010, which probably precipitated their sudden willingness to part with the once-untouchable asset, but his stuff is still there, just waiting for his ability to catch up: Kelly's fastball was rated the best heatuh in the Red Sox system in 2010. And so was his curve. And so was his changeup. Put all that together with his plus control, and it seems pretty clear we're looking at a possible Padres success story. Like any pitching prospect, he needs luck on his side to stay healthy, and if he gets that, he'll be a solid number two or three starter, and maybe even a future ace.
Full Scouting Report for Casey Kelly
SB 127 BA SC 89 BP SN ES ML 87
A strong, squat outfielder with plus power potential, Phillip Ervin is an outfielder with good speed who could actually stick in centerfield for a future Reds team. The Pucketesque ballplayer was a good hitter in 2012 (327/.406/.519, 10 homers, 16 steals) and an even better one in wooden-bat Cape Cod League action in the fall, where he raked .323/.429/.631 with 11 homers and 10 more steals in a near-identical number of at-bats. While he'll get some knocks for his smallish size, he has more than a few believers in the scouting ranks, and could surprise many by outperforming expectations.
Full Scouting Report for Phillip Ervin
SB 128 BA SC 79 BP 63 SN ES ML
A Venezuelan righthander getting a great deal of 2013 attention in Detroit, Bruce Rondon is a pitcher stuffed with stuff, though still a bit challenged for control of it. In other words, a prototypical closer in the making. Not a huge man, Rondon nonetheless gets plenty of action on his heavy fastball, which can break 100mph but usually clocks-in closer to 96. His best trick, however, is the way he adds deception with a low arm angle that's near-sidearm. Not only does that arm action make his fastball hard to pick up, it also makes his slider have more movement than it really needs, which is probably the main cause of some of that wildness. Rondon displayed an occasional change back in 2009, but that's nothing he'll really be needing in the bullpen, so it's probably best to consider it at least semi-retired.
Rondon reall could use another year of cooking in order to practice dealing with more patient hitters, the kind less likely to flail at his dirtballs, but the Tigers could use him in the bullpen immediately. Whether or not he opens 2013 closing for the team, he'll almost certain end the season that way.
Full Scouting Report for Bruce Rondon
SB 129 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A top pitching prospect from the 2013 draft, Sean Manaea (rhymes with pariah) went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 17 starts for Indiana State in 2012, striking out 115 batters in 105 innings while walking only 32. The son of proud parents Opal and Faaloloi (yes, he's Samoan), Sean brings a mid-90's fastball to the plate that should improve as he fills out further. His secondary offerings, a nasty slider and a developing change, aren't good enough for the Show just yet, but they're advanced for his age. Sean is also known for having a Pettitte-like pickoff move that holds even talented baserunners at bay.
Full Scouting Report for Sean Manaea
SB 130 BA SC 90 BP 78 SN ES ML
120 to 130 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013