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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SB 140 BA SC BP 73 SN ES ML 76
A tree-trunk of a young man, Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach won't win any sprints or high-jumping contests, but lordy, lordy, the boy can hit baseballs. Plus contact, plus-plus power to all fields, and a bucketful of moon-shots every day in batting practice: these are the things young Vogelbach is made of. In the NL, a man this large (the Cubs list him at 250lbs, but they're being very polite) is destined for first base, like it or not, and thankfully Vogelbach does show good hands and footwork around the bag.
More Scouting Book Info on Dan Vogelbach
SB 141 BA SC 80 BP SN ES ML
A powerful lefthanded outfielder, Yankee prospect Slade Heathcott has looked like a future offensive monster for some time now, though his development has been slowed a great deal by shoulder injuries that have required two surgeries already. A professional hitter, Heathcott has plus contact and power skills, not to mention superior baserunning ability. He's more than adequate in the field, and while he can play center, his body type might be better-suited to a corner outfield position. All told, he's a legitimate 30-30 candidate as long as he stays focused on development. Mumblings about possible off-field issues seem to be more smoke than substance, the occasional brawl notwithstanding, but even if there's something there, the button-down Yankees system is a good place to straighten out any young man looking for discipline and guidance. He's dropped off a lot of lists, but given some time to heal and straighten himself out, he should be working his way back up again in the next couple of seasons.
More Scouting Book Info on Slade Heathcott
SB 142 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A high-school catcher blessed with a B-movie monicker, Stryker Trahan was drafted by the Diamondbacks at the tail end of 2012's first round. While the final call is more than half a decade away, the early returns suggest that the tallish Trahan may be able to stick at catcher, as he possesses more than the usual strong arm requirement. If he shows aptitude for game-calling, he'll move quickly, but 'quickly' in this context still means 2016 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Stryker Trahan
SB 143 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Dominican lefthander signed in 2012, Giant prospect Adalberto Mejia showed good control in his first visit to American ball, charting a respectable 3.97 ERA and 1.34 WHIP across 107 innings. He spent half his time as a starter and half in relief, as the Giants are looking hard at him as a fast-track bullpen option. Should they reconsider, he could impress with his quality changeup. If he remains in the bullpen, it'll be his low-90's fastball with decent motion and occasional wipeout slider that are called upon most often.
More Scouting Book Info on Adalberto Mejia
SB 144 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A mature pitching prospect, righthander David Hale is a local Georgia boy who attended Princeton before being drafted by the Braves back in 2009. Hale's path through the minors has been a long but steady one, recently racking up a 3.77, 1.29 season at AA Mississippi. Since he's continued to improve even while moving up to higher levels, he looks to be on a tidy trajectory for MLB in 2014, as either a long-reliever or starter.
More Scouting Book Info on David Hale
SB 145 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyuji Fujikawa
SB 146 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall, thin lefty sneaking his way up the ladder in Tampa, Dominican pitcher Enny Romero won't get a lot of attention due to the richness of pitching the Rays have in stock, but in another system he could be a top prospect, if only for his natural ability.
Rough-edged but generally pretty projectable, his sometimes-clanky delivery seems to be the root of his control struggles, though he did pitch a little more within himself last year, so there's hope. He's been improving in that regard recently, which is critical: until he can keep that sinking 92mph fastball consistently down, he'll have to lean on the change and curve a bit too much to keep hitters honest, and neither of those pitches is quite all-there yet. Romero looked better at high-A Charlotte last year than he did at a lower level the year before, which is a great sign, and managed to increase his workload to 123 innings without any significant setbacks, quelling our earlier concerns about his stamina for now. He'll look to improve again this year and try to work his way into the AA rotation.
More Scouting Book Info on Enny Romero
SB 147 BA SC BP 90 SN ES ML
It's not often that a college pitcher's best weapon is a changeup, but that's how it is for Gonzaga's Marco Gonzales. It's also why he's a top pitching prospect: the change is usually the hardest and last pitch for any professional to master. More traditionally. Marco commands a low-90's fastball well and leans on a good slider against lefthanded hitters. A two-way player while in college, he's no slouch with a bat, which could be extra-attractive to his future in the National League. In a Cardinal system adept at getting the most from smart pitchers, Gonzales has a very bright future.
More Scouting Book Info on Marco Gonzales
SB 148 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Victor Sanchez, the prize of the international free agent market in 2011, is a big-armed righthander who's growing up in a Seattle system that's positively overflowing with that particular blessing. A gifted athlete with a loose, easy motion and natural movement on his ball, he was a star in Venezuela from the time he was 12 years old, dominating hitters four years older than that with a 90mph fastball and a downright unfair curve. As a sixteen year old in showcases, Sanchez demonstrated he could hit 92 with that heater, not to mention the beginnings of a slider that has since blossomed into a genuine plus pitch. He's even shown indications of a working changeup, which is remarkable in such a young pitcher.
In his first taste of American ball at low-A Everett in 2012, Sanchez went 6-2, 3.18 over fifteen starts, striking out 69 hitters in 85 innings of work. He's still very young, of course, and his body will need to grow in just the right way to support the workload his arm is about to encounter. But right now he looks like the best Latin American pitching prospect we've seen since Julio Teheran, who was himself probably the best since some guy you may remember named Felix.
More Scouting Book Info on Victor Sanchez
SB 149 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Tommy John veteran, Oklahoma State grad Jason Hursh was drafted in 2013's Compensation Round by the Atlanta Braves. A strong, sturdy righthander who brings easy heat from a loose, easy delivery that's a lot less violent than it first appears, Hursh can touch 99 but usually works around 94mph. His fastball has nice natural sink and some late tailing action that serves him well: missed strikeouts are often still weak grounders. Hursh's secondary pitches are less impressive, with a so-so changeup and a slider that often stays flat and hittable. He'll need both to deal with hitters in MLB.
More Scouting Book Info on Jason Hursh
SB 150 BA SC BP SN ES ML
140 to 150 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013