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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Someone in the Texas system is very, very good at finding high quality shortstops. Signed by the Rangers back in 2010 as an IFA, Luis Sardinas is an underrated shortstop prospect from Venezuela who has all the raw tools to be a superstar. After a rookie 2011 cut short due to injury, Sardinas showed what he could do at A-level Hickory last season by slashing an easy .291/.346/.356 line while wowing the crowd with highlight-reel defensive wizardry.
A natural switch-hitter, Sardinas shows equal effectiveness from either side of the plate, and brings superior speed to the table as well. He's not shown much power yet, but he has a body to grow into, so some pop should be coming along presently. If he has a weak spot, he's a bit twitchy and impatient at the plate, but that's hardly a serious flaw in a still-teenaged prospect. While the baseball world is busy writing about an imaginary battle between Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, Sardinas might eventually surpass both of them.
More Scouting Book Info on Luis Sardinas
SB 181 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 182 BA SC 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 183 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 184 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 185 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 186 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 187 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 188 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A high-school running back with plus speed and great instincts in the outfield, Milwaukee prospect Tyrone Taylor could yet grow into a corner, though right now he looks like future leadoff material. Shaking off doubts he could handle pro pitching, Taylor slashed a combined .387/.434/.667 in two Rookie league stops in 2012, opening the door for A-ball and ungodly breaking stuff. He cranked a .274/.338/.400 line at A-level Wisconsin, with 8 homers in 485 at-bats. He'll probably open 2014 back in A-ball, though a hot start could see an early promotion here. He's still a couple of years away.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyrone Taylor
SB 189 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. Also, while it's his best breaking ball, Hellweg's 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 190 BA SC BP SN ES ML
180 to 190 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013