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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Nobody expected young Josh Bell to sign in 2011, which is probably why he fell to the Pirates in round two of the draft. But one should never underestimate the allure of five million shiny dollars, and young Bell shocked other managers by inking with the Pirates and passing on the University of Texas. Bell immediately became the biggest bat in a Pirate system that's very lacking in offensive muscle, but his primo status doesn't only come from relative dearth: he's a valid top prospect all on his own merit.
Full Scouting Report for Josh Bell
SB 122 BA SC 86 BP 77 SN ES 97 ML 74
The Mets top infield prospect, Wilmer Flores is on a trajectory for Flushing that will be difficult to derail. Flores's reached AA in 2012, slashing .311/.361/.494 in 66 Binghamton games that included 8 homers and 18 doubles. He's still a year or so away from Flushing, and it's possible he could outgrow shortstop, but right now he looks like he could be a slightly-dimmer East Coast version of Starlin Castro by early 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Wilmer Flores
SB 123 BA SC BP 71 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 124 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 125 BA SC 79 BP 63 SN ES ML
A thin, wiry righthander from the Dominican Republic, Reds prospect Daniel Corcino doesn't do anything fancy on the mound. He simply mixes a maxed-out 98mph heater with a quality breaking ball and gets hitters out. In a full year of AA-ball at Pensacola in 2012, Corcino went 3.00 / 1.23 while striking out 126 would-be hitters in 143 innings of work. His walk rate was up a bit, but AA hitters are notorious for being much more patient than lower-level players, so that's not a shock. He did look durable, not missing any of his 26 starts for the Blue Wahoos. Hopefully he can regain his previously masterful control in 2012, which would keep him on track for a mid or late-season callup in 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Daniel Corcino
SB 126 BA SC BP 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 127 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 128 BA SC 90 BP 78 SN ES ML
A big, sturdy reliever ready for MLB duty, Mariner prospect dominated the Southern League in the first half of 2012 season and looked at least that good late, striking out 20 in 20 while working at Triple-A Tacoma. A late-season taste in Seattle showed that he could handle the big-league pressure, and with an increasing confidence in his big, exploding fastball, Pryor should be mowing down MLB hitters this season.
Full Scouting Report for Stephen Pryor
SB 129 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Showing no certain confidence in the mercurial Carlos Marmol, the Cubs outbid several other teams in 2012's offseason to secure the services of Japanese veteran closer Kyuji Fujikawa. Fujikawa, who finished 48 games for the Hanshin Tigers in 2012, did so while posting a miniscule 1.32 ERA and 1.028 WHIP while striking out eleven batters per nine innings of work. And those numbers aren't aberrations: Fujikawa's career ERA over six seasons in Japan is only 1.36, and he's struck out five times as many men as he 's walked. While it's always iffy to assume an 'overpowering' pitcher in Japan can turn the same trick in America, Fujikawa at least brings closing experience in many bigger-game situations than the Cubs are likely to see in the next few years.
Full Scouting Report for Kyuji Fujikawa
SB 130 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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 should move quickly through the Oakland system.
Full Scouting Report for Michael Choice
SB 131 BA 98 SC BP 79 SN ES ML 72
120 to 130 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013