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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An unsexy pickup by the Rangers at the bottom of the second round of the 2010 Draft, California righthander Cody Buckel was overlooked by many scouts due to his small stature, but he certainly shows pitching ability. His real ability was on display at AA Frisco in 2012, however, as he struck out 68 hitters in 69 innings of work, (10 starts) while walking only 23. Not bad for a 20-year old.
Buckel's fastball picked up a tick or two, but still seems to max out at not much more than 94mph, though he controls it well and mixes in three other pitches that are all pretty advanced for his age: even his proto-change looks better than you'd expect from such a young pitcher. Of course, he's still a small guy with a whiplike delivery and a high strikeout rate, so no matter how well he does, you know what most scouts are thinking: future closer.
More Scouting Book Info on Cody Buckel
SB 151 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Stony Brook alumnus taken by the Houston Astros in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, righthander Nick Tropeano is a raw but high-ceiling pitching prospect. Moving from low to high-A last year, Tropeano posted a combined 12-7, 2.85, 1.23 season, striking out 166 hitters and walking 47 in 158 innings.
As a starter, he projects as a solid workhorse with smarts, since he outperforms his stuff on a regular basis thanks to an advanced feel for pitching and a very high quality, deceptive changeup. His makeup is very good, and 2013 will be a very good test as he tries to move up to AA and its more advanced hitters. If he can keep AA batters honest with a fastball that seldom reaches the 90's, he'll be doing the same in MLB next season.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Tropeano
SB 152 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A strong, burly righthander with a good mix of pitches, Florida native Nick Travieso looks like he could find a nice long term home in the Cincinnati rotation, or at least the bullpen: that 94mph heat with a plus slider looks mighty attractive right now. He's a few years away, but has one of the highest upsides in the system.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Travieso
SB 153 BA SC BP SN ES ML
With one of the fastest home-to-first sprints since Ichiro and an OBP over .400 in his first season of pro ball, Padres prospect Cory Spangenberg is already looking very capable of sitting atop a San Diego batting order very soon. The versatile infielder played third base in college but will almost certainly be a second baseman in San Diego. He's still a bit rough around the edges, so give him a year to push his way into AA ball before you start expecting him to crack the Padres' everyday roster.
More Scouting Book Info on Cory Spangenberg
SB 154 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Bad from the bullpen (7.72 ERA). Great in the rotation (2.12). That's the short version of John Hellweg's 2010 tour at high-A Inland Empire. That's enough to get him a lot of asterisks and scribbled marginalia, but it was also enough to inspire the Angels to commit to the big enigma as a starter going forward, at least provisionally.
With a high-90's fastball that looks even faster coming from his huge 6-8 frame and a serviceable change, he's definitely got the raw talent to succeed, assuming his body can obey. Hellweg's breaking ball, a developing slider, is still an angry inch away from big-league ready, so he's probably not that close yet. His experiences so far make him an interesting story to watch.
More Scouting Book Info on John Hellweg
SB 155 BA SC BP 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 156 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Mets don't have a lot of top-notch prospects, but Michael Fulmer is pushing to become one of the most promising. An effectively-wild righthander with electric stuff, Fulmer leans heavily on a high-90's fastball that has a little natural movement, coupled with a hard slider that is difficult for hitters to find coming out of his hand. The similar delivery Fulmer uses for that fastball and slider is probably his best weapon.
Fulmer is still working on a third pitch, and if he can harness a quality change he'll be moved up the system as a starter. If the change is a bust, he'll be penciled in as a future eighth or even ninth-inning option in Flushing, where he'll be able to grind away at hitters with the two quality pitches he's already got in his holster. Give him another year to experiment.
More Scouting Book Info on Michael Fulmer
SB 157 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A steal of a signing by the Cardinals just before the 2014 season, 23-year-old Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz hit .315 with 12 homers and 11 stolen bases for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara in 2012. Interestingly, that's the same franchise that produced Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. Maybe it's the water.
More Scouting Book Info on Aledmys Diaz
SB 158 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A 2011 Golden Spikes Award finalist at the University of Texas, righthander Talor Jungmann was drafted by the Brewers in the first round and signed with big bonus money. He's already a polished and complete pitching package with crazy-good stuff and a nice-and-easy delivery, albeit one with an odd and twitchy follow-through. Perhaps best of all, he's the rarest of flamethrowers: the kind who doesn't fall in love with his own heat, preferring to dismantle hitters with changing speeds and great lateral control. He looked great in high-A ball in 2012, compiling a professional 11-6 record with a 3.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP for the Manatees. He did show a little more wildness than expected, though, which means he really needs to rein himself in while preparing for AA's more patient and dangerous batters.
More Scouting Book Info on Taylor Jungmann
SB 159 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Sean Manaea
SB 160 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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Top Prospects 2013