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.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
If you think you have found a mistake, please read
this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best First Base Prospects for 2014
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
A mature Cuban first baseman, slugger Jose Dariel Abreu (Correa) was the Cuban League's MVP in 2010-2011, a season in which he hit 33 home runs in 66 gams, a Cuban League record. His .453/.597/.986 line is also the best in recorded history. After defecting from Cuba in late 2013, he signed a six-year major league contract with the White Sox. He's expected to earn playing time this season, and while he may strike out a lot, his game-changing power will play in any league.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Abreu
SB 13 BA 29 SC BP SN ES ML
When a high school player is projected as a first baseman, it's a sort of mixed message. On the one hand, it means that scouts have little to no faith in the player's ability to perform anywhere on the field. On the other hand, if such a player is still highly thought of, he must be one heck of a hitter. That's the case with LA-born, NY-drafted teenager Dominic Smith. The youngster has exceptional bat speed and power, and even shows enough of a discerning eye at the plate that a few scouts have conjured the ghost of Larry Walker in describing his potential. Smith's glove is actually quite good at first, and he has a strong arm, so it's possible some team will try to make a right fielder out of him, but that won't change the calculus: as long as the kid can learn to handle quality breaking balls in the minor leagues, he'll be a quality MLB ballplayer one day.
More Scouting Book Info on Dominic Smith
SB 83 BA 92 SC 74 BP SN ES 37 ML
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 140 BA SC 80 BP SN ES ML
A big, strong and hungry monster with plus contact skills and off-the-charts power, Phoenix native CJ 'Crusher' Cron slashed a nasty-looking .308/.371/.629 right through the rookie Pioneer League in 2011, capped by eight homers in his final ten games. In 2012, he did much the same in the Cal League, posting a .293/.327/.516 line while knocking no less than
twenty-seven dingers. We expect he'll be crushing AA pitching sometime in 2013, just as soon as they open the cage to let him out.
More Scouting Book Info on CJ Cron
SB 150 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The best in-house bet for a first-baseman of the future, Milwaukee's Hunter Morris stroked an easy .303/.357/.563 (with 28 home runs) at AA Huntsville in 2012. There's not much more he needs to prove in the minors, which means he'll be banging on Milwaukee's door in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Hunter Morris
SB 241 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, lefty-swinging slugger from Dominican Republic, Ranger prospect Ronald Guzman put together a decent Sally League debut in 2013, slashing .272 /.325/.387 as an eighteen year old while playing a competent first base. His offensive tools are good ones, with a quick, line-drive angle of attack and swing mechanics that keep his body square on the ball for maximum effect. His game-sense and savvy earn high praise from scouts, and it shows in his preference to hit the ball hard to all fields rather than spend every at-bat reaching for the bleachers like so many young sluggers. Though he's a below-average runner, he's not much of a liability on the bases thanks to his heads-up style of play. He needs some polish and experience, but he looks like a decent first base option for the Rangers once Prince Fielder turns into a full-time DH.
More Scouting Book Info on Ronald Guzman
SB 264 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Chris McGuiness, a Citadel grad originally drafted by the Red Sox, came to the Indians a Rule 5 selection from Texas. That means he'll need to stick on the major league roster to remain an Indian, and there are indications he may be able to do just that. McGuiness smacked 24 homers and slashed a .268/.366/.474 line at AA Frisco last season while playing first base exclusively. If he can do that again in the majors, well... those are numbers that the Indians would take from a left-handed first baseman / designated hitter.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris McGuiness
SB 290 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A massive first baseman with equally massive power potential, Diamondback prospect Jonathan Griffin destroyed the Cal League (.304/.366/.523 with 26 homers) in 2012 before being bumped to AA. That's where he'll keep mashing in 2012, trying to cut back on the strikeouts a bit. His glove at first is adequate for a right-hander, but a little more refinement there wouldn't hurt either. If the Diamondbacks need a mid-season boost, he may get a shot, but otherwise we're looking at Griffin competing for a 2014 roster spot.
More Scouting Book Info on Jonathan Griffin
SB 367 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third round pick by the always-clever Pirates in the 2011 draft, and signed despite concerns about his future plans, ex-Hoosier Alex Dickerson is a slugger of the first order. He should help the Pirates offset a pitching-heavy talent pool in the near future. While dropping to the third round helped him fade from some writers' memories, his first-year pro line at low-A State College (.313/.393/.493) propelled him back into the top ranks.
A prototypical slugger, Dickerson is big, wide and strong. He's the kind of friend you'd call to help you move, or maybe to stand behind you while you visit someone who owes you money. Dickerson's left-handed swing is a bit long, but his bat speed seems more than adequate to cover that right now. He's not getting fooled by breaking balls yet, either, though he hasn't seen many truly great ones. We're dying to see him in Altoona. Until then, he's a couple of years away from the majors (let's say... mid-to-late 2014?), but if he continues to chew through pitching the way he has so far, he'll be a great asset by that time.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Dickerson
SB 390 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A mature college star toiling in the Oriole minor league system, Christian Walker is a righthanded first baseman with superior on-base skills but questionable power. He looks like a fringe candidate from here, but a James Loney / Kevin Youkilis career isn't out of the question here. Baltimore has been very good at developing quality MLB hitters who can contribute, after all.
More Scouting Book Info on Christian Walker
SB 423 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A pure hitter drafted 48th overall by the White Sox in 2012, Florida native Keon Barnum is already capable of putting on tentpole exhibitions in batting practice. With a big, strong bat from the left side with a stroke that might be a bit too long, we see a lot of longballs and an even larger number of strikeouts in his future. Chicago is a good place to showcase those skills.
More Scouting Book Info on Keon Barnum
SB 457 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Alex Dickerson gets a lot of press in Piratelandia, but it could be another first base masher, the smaller but just as potent Matthew Curry, who ends up launching dingers in Pittsburgh first. Curry, a 16th round (!) selection back in 2010, looked awfully good in AA last year, slashing a .285/352/.480 line at Altoona. He'll probably start 2013 back in Altoona, but as long as he maintains the same level of performance, he'll end the year with the big club.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Curry
SB 469 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Puerto Rican prospect Neftali Soto is a toolsy infielder who's growing up fast in the Reds' power-packed farm system. After looking like the future of the franchise in 2011, he took a step back in 2012 at AAA Louisville with a meh .245/.313/.400 full-season line. He did manage 14 homers and 30 doubles, however, showing that he hasn't lost his power stroke. His increasing size and strength knocked him out of third base contention, as expected, but he's a useful enough 1B-RF bat, and he could be a decent DH with another ballclub. But as long as he keeps hitting, that'll be just fine.
More Scouting Book Info on Neftali Soto
SB 473 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the best hitting prospects in the 2007 Amateur Draft, Beau Mills went to the Indians, who at the time enough had no long-term 1B or 3B solution in their system. He turned out to be pretty much as-expected, a lumbering slow slugger with so-so contact skills but plus power. The .300/.358/.522 line he posted in AA Akron in 2011 was validated by a month-long tour with the AAA Clippers in which he turned in similar numbers while homering seven times in 35 games.
While his stumbles in 2012 led the now-loaded-with-bats Indians to pawn him off to the Reds, he still deserves at least a look in MLB.
More Scouting Book Info on Beau Mills
SB 484 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Chris Garcia is a big, strong corner infielder who came to the Braves via the Los Angeles Angels. A seasoned prospect, Garcia is probably the most disciplined hitter on the Atlanta farm, as evidence by his 334:317 strikeout to walk ratio in six minor league season. Recently, Garcia slashed .285/.408 /.431 with 11 homers at high-A Lynchburg while playing a competent first base (he's also spent time at second and third, but he's a bit large for either.) A Casey Kotchman / James Loney type hitter, he won't be a superstar, but he could prove valuable if Atlanta, or another team, loses an everyday corner infielder in the months or years to come.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris Garcia
SB 497 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A late-blooming right-handed bat who rose to attention last year as the International League (AAA) MVP while a member of the Tampa Bay system, Russ Canzler has already been through four major league organizations in the last year alone, though he's only taken at-bats with two of them. Originally drafted the Cubs back in 2004, Canzler is a versatile player who can handle any corner position, infield or out, though he's performed best as a first baseman to date.
With a good all-around grasp of the game, Canzler is no slouch, but buyer beware: that award-winning 2011 (.314/.401/.530) he enjoyed with the Durham Bulls was his best at any level of professional play, bolstered in large part by an improved walk rate, but even then, he still struck out almost exactly once per game. Still, as a poor man's Matt LaPorta, he's ready for a real shot in MLB, and could provide some much-needed support for a team looking for a little extra offense in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Russ Canzler
SB 513 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Oh, the headlines they'll write. Miles Head is a powerful and puntastic prospect currently gaining attention in the Oakland system. With 23 homers in 124 games split between high- and double-A last year, Miles is a big boy on a fast track to joining the very young and very potent offense in Oakland.
While he has enough arm to play third base, he really belongs at first, where he's a capable fielder, or better still at DH, where he can focus on mashing longballs full-time. While the Athletics would surely like Head to take a few more walks, they'll certainly accept that .968 OPS at any cost, which means he could be tested in a green and gold uniform before 2013 has faded into winter.
More Scouting Book Info on Miles Head
SB 520 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A left-handed power bat from Georgia, Dan Palka was drafted in 2013's third round by the Diamondbacks. The sort of lumbering old-school slugger that many teams cherish, Palka's success in college ball shows that he can square up enough balls to be a net positive for his team, too. (Sure, he'll strike out a lot, but he'll make up for it with enough light tower numbers to earn his pay.) He's not very mobile, but he has enough arm for a corner outfield spot, with first base being the obvious backup plan. Heck, he even did some college relief pitching.
More Scouting Book Info on Daniel Palka
SB 521 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A two-way player in high-school, Oakland announced Matt Olson as a first baseman when selecting him in 2012's First Supplemental Round, and that's probably what he'll be for the Athletics. He has a promising mix of power and patience that could play well in a system that covets both.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Olson
SB 526 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013