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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A big, strong strikeout artist who's been held back thus far by control issues, homegrown Phillies lefty Jesse Biddle still gets a very high nod thanks to his crazy-good stuff. He struck out a batter per inning at low-A Lakewood last year, which is enough to give him a pass (for now) on the fact that he also walked exactly one batter per odd inning. 96
Full Scouting Report for Jesse Biddle
SB 131 BA 71 SC 60 BP 94 SN ES 77 ML 53
An offense-first Cuban shortstop signed by the Dodgers in 2013's winter, Alex Guerrero could probably start at second base for any of half the teams in MLB. Guerrero is the proud owner of a career .302/.383/.527 line across eight seasons of Cuban League play. More intriguingly, he stroked an average of 20 home runs each of his last four seasons seasons... and those are 90-game seasons. If even part of that prowess translates to MLB, he could provide some above-average production for the Dodgers very soon, probably while playing second base.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Guerrero
SB 132 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Another raw athlete in a draft filled to the brim with such potential, Ranger prospect Nick Williams fits the cliche perfectly: great natural tools and athleticism, good speed, strong arm, very raw skills, and a swing that shows glimmers of greatness... but also one full of more holes than a beer-league infield. Williams will report to the Rangers' rookie-league team in Arizona for evaluation and assignment.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Williams
SB 133 BA 97 SC BP 88 SN ES ML
Florida native Ben Lively, a solid righthander with a very polished four pitch arsenal, was drafted by the Reds in 2013's fourth round. While the fastball/slider looks like his best combination, his change and curve are good enough that the Reds will probably let him develop as a starter until and unless he stumbles hard. Of course, thanks to some deception in his throwing motion, coupled with that quality slider, he's got a very good possible future as a reliever in his back pocket, too.
Full Scouting Report for Ben Lively
SB 134 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the bundle of top prospects sent to Miami for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and company in November, Justin Nicolino is a finessey lefty in the Tom Glavine fashion. Nicolino can dial his fastball up to 92 or 93, but not much more than that. It's more than enough, though. Nicolino had what might be the best debut by a Jays prospect ever in 2011, and has continued to blossom since. If he makes the big leagues in 2013, which is possible, he'll do it on the strength of an easy, repeatable throwing motion (balls will come down, down, down on hitters from his tall frame and overhand motion) and a propensity to throw strikes, strikes and more strikes.
Full Scouting Report for Justin Nicolino
SB 135 BA SC 93 BP SN ES 93 ML 81
A well rounded young outfielder in the KC system, Dominican Jorge Bonifacio has received a little more attention of late, ever since Wil Myers left the building. At age 19, Bonifacio didn't rattle at all when promoted to A ball in 2012, slashing .282/.336/.432 with 10 homers and breaking a sweat. He might want to turn up the accelerator a bit, of course: he's only 25 of 41 in stolen base attempts, a poor success rate for a player with such good speed. He'll be in the minors another year or two, but could join Bubba Starling in a potent young Royal outfield soon enough.
Full Scouting Report for Jorge Bonifacio
SB 136 BA 90 SC 81 BP 99 SN ES ML 91
A strong infielder with a nice line-drive stroke and an eye that's beyond his young years, second base prospect Taylor Lindsey showed better glovework than expected in low-level pro ball. He'll try to take his sparkplug style of play up to A-level in 2013. He's a couple of years away from scratching a living from the Anaheim dirt, but he's exactly the sort of scrappy, line-drive hitting middle infielder that the Angels are so good at drafting and developing. He's probably no superstar, but he will stick in MLB and play well when his time comes.
Full Scouting Report for Taylor Lindsey
SB 137 BA 93 SC 74 BP SN ES ML
The Red Sox first round pick in 2011, UConn's Matt Barnes was the 2011 Big East Pitcher of the Year. With a 98mph fastball and a curveball that's downright impossible on a good day, he already looks like he could be a part of a big-league rotation. Of course, those two pitches are really his entire bag right now, and it's pretty likely that no matter how good they are, a two pitch combo won't work very well the third or fourth time through an MLB order. To fix this shortcoming, he'll work on developing his all-important third pitch, a change that's sometimes reasonable-looking, but definitely still raw. He'll do that while working in the minors this year, while the Red Sox try to train him to their style of play and development. Watch for him in mid-to-late 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Barnes
SB 138 BA SC BP 94 SN ES 89 ML 86
One of Japan's most talented all-around ballplayers, Oakland rookie Hiroyuki Nakajima is a toolsy, accomplished shortstop with a good line-drive swing and an exemplary work ethic. Playing all season at shortstop for Seibu in 2011, Hiroyuki slashed .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles, which is actually a poor year compared to his .310/.381/.479 career line. He also stole 21 out of 23 bases, showing exceptional skill. He's a solid player, with the same speed and discipline usually seen in Japanese players, plus a little more power than American fans might expect. A three-hole hitter with Seibu, Hiro would fit well into the number two or seven slot for the A's, or as a decent lead off man.
Full Scouting Report for Hiroyuki Nakajima
SB 139 BA SC BP SN ES ML
With his onetime stellar WHIP and strikeout rate tumbling somewhat following 2009 surgery, Yankee righthander Dellin Betances has been pushed a bit harder than many scouts would have preferred, and will need to reestablish some firm ground before he's ready to reclaim top prospect status. The team also pushed him way too quickly last season, probably panicking a little over their MLB bullpen woes. Still, he remains a high-ceiling if risky long-term asset: guys with stuff this wicked always seem to find their way onto MLB rosters sooner or later.
Full Scouting Report for Dellin Betances
SB 140 BA SC BP SN ES ML
130 to 140 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013